The Supreme Court has by a unanimous decision ordered Ghana’s Parliament to expunge the name of James Gyakye Quayson from its records as a Member of Parliament for the Assin North constituency..
This follows a judgment of the apex court upholding an application invoking the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the election of James Gyakye Quayson.
The plaintiff, Michael Ankomah-Nimfah filed the application after securing a judgment at the High Court in Cape Coast injuncting Gyakye Quayson from holding himself as MP after the court ruled that by being a Canadian citizen, he was not qualified to contest as an MP in Ghana.
The plaintiff in invoking the original jurisdiction was seeking relief that upon the true and proper interpretation of Article 94(2)(a) of the 1992 constitution the decision to allow Gyakye Quayson to contest in the 2020 polls, and his subsequent election was null and void.
The ruling by the seven-member panel of the Supreme Court bars Mr. Quayson from holding himself as a Member of Parliament.
Mr Quayson was standing trial for counts of the deceit of a public officer, forgery of a passport, knowingly making a false statutory declaration, perjury, and false declaration.
On February 12, 2022, Mr Quayson filed for exclusion of the statement of the prosecution’s first witness, but that was dismissed by the High Court and a subsequent application for certiorari to quash the decision of the high and prohibition of the judge presiding over the case at the high court was dismissed by the Supreme Court.
The injuncted MP through his lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata has invoked the review jurisdiction of the Supreme Court seeking to overturn its earlier decision.
In November 2020, a group calling itself ‘Concerned Citizens of Assin North petitioned the Electoral Commission in the Central Region to withdraw the candidature of Mr. Quayson, arguing that he owes allegiance to Canada.
James Gyakye Quayson, who stood on the tick of the National Democratic Congress as its parliamentary candidate in the Assin North constituency for the 2020 polls got 17,498 votes representing (55.21%) while Abena Durowaa Mensah, the New Patriotic Party’s candidate had 14,193 representing (44.79%).
Michael Ankomah-Nimfa, a teacher and resident of Yamoransa in the Central Region, subsequently filed a petition at the Cape Coast High Court after the election seeking to annul the declaration of Mr. Quayson as the MP Assin North.
The Cape Coast High Court in the Central Region upheld Mr. Akomah-Ninfa’s request and declared the 2020 parliamentary election held in the Assin North Constituency as null and void because Mr Quayson breached the provisions of the constitution with regard to dual citizenship.
Mr. Quayson subsequently appealed the judgment, at the Court of Appeal in Cape Coast.
Article 94 (2) says a person shall not be qualified to be a member of Parliament if he owes allegiance to a country other than Ghana.
The matter later was sent to the Supreme Court
Supreme Court dismisses Assin North MP’s application for Article 94 interpretation
The Supreme Court in March 2020 unanimously dismissed an application filed by James Gyakye Quayson to quash a decision of the Court of Appeal not to refer article 94 (2) (a) to the Supreme Court for interpretation.
The five-member panel, also dismissed by a majority decision of 3-2, another application from Mr. Quayson for a stay of appeal proceedings at the Appellate Court and for referral of Article 94 (2) (a) of the 1992 Constitution to the Supreme Court for interpretation.
The panel at the time was composed of Justices Gabriel Pwamang as President, Agnes Dordzie, Gertrude Torkornoo, Clemence Honyenuga, and Yonny Kulendi.
Gyakye Quayson’s case: Justice system has been unfair to Assin North constituents – Mahama
Former President John Dramani Mahama had earlier expressed angst over the case against James Gyakye Quayson.
The former President during his tour of the Central Region on Thursday, March 30, 2023, said the justice system has not worked for the people of Assin North and James Quayson.
“It is a blight on our system of justice that for such a long time, the Assin North people have been deprived a representation in Parliament.”
“It is a blight on our justice system that the writ which is supposed to remove an injunction on him [Gyakye Quayson] from carrying out his functions as an MP has been pending before the court for one year now.”
He bemoaned how the delay in the case has affected parliamentary business.
“As a result of that he can’t work in Parliament and in addition has reduced the size of the Minority size in parliament by one vote. It’s unfortunate.”
He called on “whoever is responsible” to take steps to ameliorate the situation as early as possible so that the people of Assin North would have representation in Parliament.