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James Quayson’s review application against ban adjourned again

Source The Ghana Report

The Supreme Court has, for the second time, adjourned the review application asking it to reconsider its decision to bar James Gyakye Quayson from holding himself as MP for the Assin North constituency.

It remains unclear the reason for the adjournment, which was announced by the Court Registrar on Tuesday, 17 May 2022.

The case is now set for 31 May 2022.

At the same time, the apex court has also adjourned two other cases involving Mr Quayson.

The first is his application to the Supreme Court against the Court of Appeal’s decision to strike out his appeal against the High Court’s verdict to remove him as Assin North MP.

The second case involves the interpretation of article 94(2)(a) of the 1992 constitution brought by Mr Michael Ankomah-Nimfah, the plaintiff in the case. It was in the course of this matter that the Supreme Court granted Mr Ankomah-Nimfah’s prayer to suspend Mr James Gyakye Quayson as an MP.

The court is expected to hear all three cases on the next date.

Supreme Court decision to prevent Mr Quayeson from performing parliamentary duties

In a 5-2 judgment delivered on Wednesday, 13 April 2022, the apex court declared that the MP could no longer fulfil parliamentary duties until the substantive case against him was resolved at the lower court.

The apex court, per the majority decision, said restraining Mr. Quayson for a few weeks for the substantive case to be determined “will not occasion any irreparable loss or damage to the applicant or anyone.”

In a 40-page judgment, the court said that “greater hardship, irreparable damage, and inconvenience will be occasioned to the constitution” should the embattled MP continue to perform parliamentary duties.

Aside from the 1992 constitution, the rule of law, the tenets of democracy, and Assin North constituents, Ghana will also be affected should the embattled MP continue to represent the constituents, the verdict said.

The judges noted that in the eyes of the law, the election of the first respondent (James Quayson) had been adjudged null, void, and of no legal effect by the Cape Coast High Court.

According to the apex court, until the said judgment by the High Court is vacated, overturned, or set aside, Mr. Quayson cannot be said to be lawfully performing the duties of an Honourable Member of Parliament.

The judgment was delivered by Justices Jones Dotse, presiding, with Agnes Dordzie, Nene Amegatcher, Prof. Henrietta Mensah Bonsu, Mariama Owusu, Gertrude Torkornoo, and Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi, as panel members.

Mr. Quayeson’s response to the ban 

The embattled legislator filed for a review on Tuesday, 26 April 2022, insisting that the 5-2 majority decision was a grave miscarriage of justice against him and the people of Assin North.

Among other things, Mr. Quayson contends that the apex court lacked jurisdiction to determine the validity of a parliamentary election as it is the High Court that has such exclusive right.

He again emphasised that the Supreme Court failed to observe that the writ upon which it based its ruling sought to invite the apex court to enforce a High Court ruling.

“The majority decision was in patent and fundamental error and violated article 129(3) of the Constitution in assuming jurisdiction over the determination of the validity of a Parliamentary election and proceeding to grant the application for an interim injunction.

“The majority decision was in patent and fundamental error in failing to appreciate that the suit was, in reality, an attempt to enforce the decisions of the High Court disguised as an invocation of the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court,” parts of the review application read.

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 when 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 26 November, at the time he filed his nomination, he did not have the requisite qualification.

NPP strategy 

On 23 December 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, asked the Ghana Immigration Service to confirm if the NDC MP-elect had renounced his Canadian citizenship before the 7 December parliamentary elections.

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