James Quayson appeals court decision to annul Assin North polls

Assin North MP James Quayson has appealed the Cape Coast High Court’s decision on July 28 that barred him from holding himself as MP.

The legislator, whose future is in limbo, said in his appeal filed on Monday, August 2, 2021, that the trial judge, Justice Kwasi Boakye, erred in his ruling, arguing that it was not based in law and fact.

Among other things, Mr Quayson is asking the Cape Coast Court of Appeal to declare as null and void the judgment delivered by the trial judge.

By this notice of appeal, the Assin North MP is also expected to cause his lawyers to apply to the court for stay execution of the High Court orders pending the determination of the appeal.

A stay of execution will prevent the Electoral Commission (EC) from carrying out the judge’s orders of conducting a fresh election in Assin North constituency and barring James Quayson from holding himself as MP.

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Reliefs being sought

A declaration that the judgment of the High Court, Cape Coast, Coram Kwasi Boakye J., dated 28th July 2021, is void for having been issued out of jurisdiction.

An order setting aside the judgment of High Court, Cape Coast, Coram Kwasi Boakye J., dated 28th July 2021.

An order setting aside the award of costs against the appellant and in favour of the petitioner/respondent and the 2nd Respondent/Respondent

Costs in favour of the appellant.

Any further or other order(s) the Court may deem fit.

Cape Coast High Court ruling on July 28

In the judgment, the court said the MP who was dragged to court weakened his case when his renunciation certificate date showed November 26, 2020, less than two weeks to the December 7, 2020 elections.

Per court records, at the time of filing, Mr Quayson had two citizenship certificates.

He still had his Canadian citizenship when he filed for parliamentary elections between October 5 and October 9, 2020, meaning the NDC MP was not qualified when he applied to compete for the Assin North seat.

The trial judge Justice Kwasi Boakye also mentioned that it would be a scar and a blot on the country’s legal jurisprudence if the error in the December 2020 parliamentary polls is allowed to stand.

The court also said it would be a cancerous tumour in Ghana’s elections if Mr Quayson is allowed and continues to hold himself as Assin North MP.

In concluding, the judge said the MP had violated certain constitutional provisions and other statutory provisions that guide Ghana’s elections.

Also, a cost of GHC40 000 was awarded against the Assin North Member of Parliament.

How it all started

A private citizen and a resident of Assin Berekum, Micheal Ankomah Nimfah, filed a suit at the Cape Coast High Court challenging the qualification of Mr Quayson as the MP for the area.

The plaintiff, a mason, averred that at the time Mr Quayson filed his nomination, he was still holding onto his Canadian citizenship and failed to denounce his citizenship as required by law.

Ghana’s laws bar dual citizens from holding public offices in Ghana.

In freezing the MP’s right to be in Parliament, the judge said: “the allegation contained is of grave nature, and he could not hold himself as MP.”

Also, the NDC MP-elect did not have the renunciation certificate to present before the court to confirm that he had indeed renounced his Canadian citizenship.

Although court documents showed the MP received his certificate on November 26, at the time he filed his nomination, he did not have the requisite qualification.

NPP strategy 

On December 23, 2020, the governing New Patriotic Party sought to trigger a by-election by challenging the eligibility of James Quayson to contest in the Assin North parliamentary elections, but he won.

Legal practitioner, Gary Nimako, had asked the Ghana Immigration Service to confirm if indeed the NDC MP-elect had renounced his Canadian citizenship before the December 7 parliamentary elections.

 

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