Speaker of Parliament refuses to declare Assin North seat vacant
According to a letter sent by the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, to the Registrar of the High Court, General Division, Accra, the Assin North parliamentary seat cannot be declared vacant by Ghana’s legislature.
The letter, dated September 3, 2021, and signed by the Clerk of Parliament, Mr Cyril K. O. Nsiah, said the legality of the occupancy of the Assin North seat was in court and as such, Speaker Bagbin cannot jump the gun.
The Speaker of Parliament, on August 31, had said that he had been informed that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency, James Quayson, had been declared an illegitimate occupant owing to a ruling by a Cape Coast High Court.
But this was only after Quayson’s lawyers had informed the Speaker of an intention to appeal the ruling and a request for a stay of execution.
Notwithstanding all of this, the Speaker has decided not to make categorical pronouncements on the matter lest her interferes with the work of another arm of government.
Quayson’s lawyers filed an appeal on his behalf on Monday, August 2, 2021, saying the trial judge, Justice Kwasi Boakye, erred in his ruling, arguing that it was not based in law and fact.
Among other things, 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 beleaguered 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.
An earlier ruling on July 28 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, 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.