Parliament to decide fate of Assin North MP

Source The Ghana Report

Parliament will soon decide if Assin North MP James Gyakye Quayson should continue holding himself as the MP for the constituency.

On Thursday, March 24, the First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei Owusu, while presiding, said the House would meet on the controversial issue, and make a determination in the coming days.

Mr Osei Owusu was responding to a request by Kwadaso MP Kingsley Nyarko, on the matter.

But the Kwadaso MP’s request generated heated debate between the two sides of the aisle.

The Minority MPs insisted that Mr Quayson will be recognised as MP until the full determination of his appeal, currently pending before the high court.

The Minority vowed to resist any unorthodox moves aimed at reducing their numbers.

Adding his voice, the Abuakwa South MP Samuel Atta Akyea, noted that since the pronouncement has been affirmed by two high courts, Mr Quayson is disqualified from participating in parliamentary proceedings.

The South Dayi MP Rockson-Nelson Etse Kwami Dafeamkpor, explained that what was dismissed was an interlocutory matter on grounds of non-compliance, and that the substantive appeal was pending.

It will be recalled that the Cape Coast High Court, in a ruling, annulled the December 2020 elections that saw Mr Quayeson emerging as the winner of the polls.

The court held that the Assin North legislator was not qualified to contest for the seat because he held allegiance to two countries at the time of filing.

Ghana’s electoral body was subsequently ordered to hold fresh elections in the area since the December 2020 results was null and void.

This decision, was also affirmed by the Cape Coast Court of Appeal.

On March 22, the Cape Coast Court of Appeal struck out an appeal by the Assin North MP, challenging a ruling that stops him from holding himself as MP. 

The legislator proceeded to the Court of Appeal, hoping to overturn the Cape Coast High Court judgement nullifying his election as Assin North MP.

But that didn’t happen, as the presiding judge, Irene Charity Larbi, struck out the case.

According to the court, the MP failed to comply with the court’s directives to submit his written submission within a stipulated time.

With the latest ruling from the appellate court, the Cape Coast High Court ruling of ordering fresh elections at the Assin North constituency holds.

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-elect 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-elect’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-elect 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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