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Mahama Weeps Over Stripping Of Assin North MP

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John Mahama

Former President John Dramani Mahama has expressed surprise about Supreme Court restraining of the Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin-North Constituency,James Gyakye Quayson from performing parliamentary duties.

According to him, he is yet to come to terms with the ruling by the apex court when the finality of the case challenging his eligibility as MP is still pending.

In a statement posted on his Facebook wall, Mr. Mahama said “I cannot understand how an MP can be restrained from carrying out his duties when the substantive case to give finality to the question of his legitimacy has not been determined.

“Or is it the case that the outcome of the substantive case has been predetermined against him?

“The representation of the people is at the heart of our democracy. Any decision that denies the citizenry of representation is a travesty of justice and an affront to our democracy.”

Wednesday April 13, 2022, the Supreme Court ruled that Mr. Gyakye Quayson cannot hold himself out as a legislator pending the determination of the case challenging his eligibility as MP.

The SC by a 5-2 majority decision, said MrQuayson, who has been sued by Michael Ninfa, a resident of Yamorasa, in the Central Region, for not renouncing his Canadian citizenship at the time he picked nomination forms to contest the December 7, 2020 Parliamentary Election, cannot go to Parliament to conduct business.

The presiding judge, Justice Jones Dotse joined four members of the bench- Justices Mariama Owusu, Prof Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu, Getrude Torkonoo and Emmanuel Yoni Kulendi, to uphold the interlocutory injunction application filed against the MP.
The two judges who dissented were Justices Agness Dordzie and Nene Amegatcher.

On the substantive suit, the Apex Court directed expeditious hearing and urged the parties and their counsel to cooperate with the court in that regard.

The court ordered the parties and their counsel to file their memorandum of issues on or by April 25, 2022, failing which each party may file their separate memorandum of issues for the court to compose the relevant issues out of them.

Justice Dotse, who read the ruling, said the full reasons would be filed in the Registry of the court on or by the close of work on Wednesday as the suit was adjourned until further notice.

By this ruling, the constituents of Assin North Constituency in the Central Region would have no representation in Parliament.

On July 21, 2021, Cape Court High annulled the December 7 Assin-North Parliamentary election, and asked the Electoral Commission (EC) to conduct fresh election in the constituency.

Mr Ninfa filed another application at the Supreme Court and asked the seven-member panel to bar the MP from conducting parliamentary business or holding himself out as MP.

On April 5, 2022, Frank Davies, lawyer for the applicant, TsatsuTsikata, counsel for the defendant, the Attorney-General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, as well as Emmanuel Adai, counsel for the EC, made oral legal arguments before the court.

Mr Davies said Mr Quayson had breached the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and the electoral rules, arguing that the people of Assin North had been saddled with an unqualified person.

Mr Davies told the court that motions for interlocutory injunction had invariably succeeded while the substantive writ was pending, and said that the balance of convenience should tilt in favour of his client.

Mr Dame said the Assin North lawmaker continuous stay in Parliament was a breach of the constitution and that the court was faced with patent issue of unconstitutionality.

“On account of the uncontroverted facts of this case, it clearly indicates that the court is faced with the patent case of unconstitutionality each passing day,” Mr Dame argued.

Mr Tsikata disagreed with the arguments by Mr Davies, and said the parties ought to seek the court’s express direction.

Counsel for the EC, Emmanuel Adei,said “we are vehemently opposed to the application” because the high court had already granted an injunction.

Mr Quayson, who is facing criminal prosecution at the Accra High Court for alleged forgery and deceit of public officer, has been granted bail.

He is currently pursuing appeal of the High Court decision at the Court of Appeal in Cape Coast.

The appeal had been struck out because the laid down procedures had not been followed, but the law does not bar him from relisting the case before the same Court of Appeal.

By Vincent Kubi