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Stop holding yourself as Assin North MP-elect -Court orders Quayson

The Cape Coast High Court has issued an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP)-elect for Assin North, Mr James Gyekye Quayson, from holding himself as the MP-elect for the constituency.

In a ruling yesterday, the court, presided over by Justice Kwasi Boakye, also issued another order restraining Mr Quayson from presenting himself to be sworn in as the MP-elect for Assin North.

The court ruling follows an interlocutory injunction filed by one Michael Ankomah-Nimfah, who initiated a parliamentary election petition against Mr Quayson.

The two interlocutory injunctions will be in force until the final determination of the election petition challenging the eligibility of Mr Quayson to be an MP, on the basis that he was a dual citizen of Ghana and Canada at the time he filed to contest as a parliamentary candidate.

“It is hereby ordered that James Quayson (1st respondent) is hereby restrained from holding himself out as the Member of Parliament-elect for the Assin North Constituency of the Republic of Ghana and further presenting himself to be sworn in as Member of Parliament-elect as such until the final determination of the petition filed against him,” Justice Boakye ruled.

Fairness and Justice

Giving reasons for his ruling, Justice Boakye held that irreparable damage would be caused to the applicant if Mr Quayson was allowed to become an MP until the final determination of the case.

He held that Article 94 (2) of the 1992 Constitution clearly stated that a person “shall not be qualified to be a Member of Parliament if he owes allegiance to a country other than Ghana”.

Justice Boakye indicated that evidence available to the court showed that although Mr Quayson had initiated the process to renounce his Canadian citizenship in November 2019, the actual renunciation certificate was given to him in November 2020.

However, he held that the evidence further showed that Mr Quayson filed to contest as a parliamentary candidate in October 2020, a time when he had not received the certificate renouncing his Canadian citizenship.

In view of that, the presiding judge indicated that it was necessary to grant the interlocutory injunction in the interest of fairness and justice until the substantive case was determined.

Charged atmosphere

There was heavy security presence on the premises of the Cape Coast High Court, with more  than 70 armed policemen and 22 officers of the Ghana National Fire Service deployed to prevent any unforeseen disturbances.

Scores of supporters of the NDC also thronged the court and they registered their displeasure at the decision of the court.

“We will not accept this decision and we will never rest until the right thing is done,” one  of them said.

Views from lawyers

Counsel for the applicant, Mr Gary Nimako Marfo, described the ruling as a sound decision which was in line with the laws of the country.

He said the 1992 Constitution and other laws did not allow people who owed allegiance to other countries to contest public elections in Ghana.

According to him, although the MP was no longer a citizen of Canada, that was done after he had filed his nomination to contest as a parliamentary candidate.

“He wasn’t qualified to be allowed to file in the first place because at the time when he did that, he was holding on to his Canadian citizenship,” counsel said.

A member of Mr Quayson’s legal team, Mr Samuel Adu Yeboah, said he was disappointed at the ruling.

Background

Mr Quayson polled 17,498 votes, against 14,793 by the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP’s) Ms Abena Durowaa Mensah, in the December 7, 2020 parliamentary election.

On December 30, last year, Ankomah-Nimfah, a resident of Assin Bereku in the Assin North Constituency, filed a parliamentary election petition under Article 99 of the 1992 Constitution

The petition was against Mr Quayson and the Electoral Commission (EC).

He contended that the MP-elect was not eligible on the basis that at the time he (Quayson) filed his nomination to contest as a parliamentary candidate, he was still a citizen of Canada.

Such an act, he argued, was against the express provision of Article 94 (2) (a) of the 1992 Constitution and Section 9(2) of the Representation of the People Act 1992 (PNDCL 284).

Among other reliefs, the applicant wanted the Cape Coast High Court to declare the nomination filed by Mr Quayson as “illegal, void and of no legal effect”.

He also sought a declaration that the decision by the EC to clear Mr Quayson to contest as a parliamentary candidate was “illegal, void and of no legal effect”.

Another relief sought by the applicant was an order restraining Mr Quayson from holding himself as the MP-elect for Assin North and another order cancelling the parliamentary election that took place in Assin North on December 7, 2020.

Honorable

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