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Assin North seat: petitioners’ lawyers serve injunction order on Parliament ahead of inauguration

Lawyers for the mason from Assin Bereku who petitioned the Cape Coast high court say they have served an order on the Clerk to Parliament

Lawyers for Michael Ankomah-Nimfah, the mason from Assin Bereku who petitioned the Cape Coast high court over the unconstitutionality of James Gyakye Quayson representing himself as the MP-elect for Assin North, say they have served the high court order on the Clerk to Parliament, the administrative head of the legislature.

Lead counsel for the petitioner, Frank Davies, in an interview with Beatrice Adu on The Big Bulletin on Asaase Radio today (6 January 2021), said that a certified true copy of the order of the court has been handed over to the Clerk to Parliament.

This is the last step aimed at ensuring that the injuncted MP-elect for Assin North does not present himself to be sworn in as an MP in the eighth parliament of the Fourth Republic.

Court order

A copy of the court order, made by Justice Kwasi Boakye and dated 6 January 2021, sighted by Asaase Radio, states that “upon reading the affidavit deposed to by Michael Ankomah-Nimfah (applicant herein) in support thereof, and upon hearing Frank Davies Esq, with him Gary Nimako and Frank Kusi, counsels for and on behalf of the applicant, herein together with Abraham Amalibah Esq, with him Adu Yeboah of counsel for and on behalf of James Quayson aka James Gyakye Quayson (1st Respondent) …

“It is hereby ordered that James Quayson, aka James Gyakye Quayson, is hereby restrained from holding himself out as Member of Parliament-Elect for Assin North constituency within the Central Region 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 by the applicant herein.”

Background

Michael Ankomah-Nimfah, a mason resident in Assin Bereku, in the Assin North constituency of the Central Region, petitioned the regional high court, essentially challenging the constitutionality of the election of the MP-elect for Assin North.

The respondents to the petition were James Quayson, otherwise known as James Gyakye Quayson, the MP-elect for Assin North (the first respondent), and the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana (second respondent)

Contention of the petitioner

According the petition, as filed by the petitioner, on 5 October 2020, “the 2nd Respondent (EC) opened nominations for the filing of parliamentary forms by candidates who intended to contest the 2020 parliamentary elections at the offices of the Electoral Commission and the filing of nominations for parliamentary elections with 2nd Respondent closed on 9 October 2020”.

It continued: “As part of the content of his nomination forms, 1st Respondent (MP-elect) solemnly declared that he is otherwise not disqualified from standing for elections by any law for the time being in force in Ghana.”

The petitioner averred that the first respondent (the MP-elect) held both Canadian and Ghanaian citizenship at the time of filing his nomination forms to contest the parliamentary election for Assin North. He held further that at the close of the filing of parliamentary nomination forms with the second respondent for the Assin North parliamentary election on 9 October 2020, the first respondent had not renounced his Canadian citizenship.

“Your petitioner will contend that the incidence of non-renunciation of the Canadian citizenship by 1st Respondent prior to the filing of his parliamentary nomination forms with 2nd Respondent, renders 1st Respondent not qualified to contest for parliamentary elections in Ghana, and same offends Article 94(2)(a) of the Constitution 1992, as he owed allegiance to Canada at the time of filing his nomination and any subsequent renunciation is of no legal effect whatsoever,” the petition said.

Article 94 (2)(a) of the 1992 constitution states: “A person shall not be qualified to be a Member of Parliament if he – (a) owes allegiance to a country other than Ghana.”

On the basis of the constitutional provision as stated, the petitioner further contended that, not having renounced his Canadian citizenship at the time of filing his nomination forms with the Electoral Commission (the second Respondent), the MP-elect (the first Respondent) was not qualified to contest for election as an MP in the parliamentary elections for Assin North organised by the EC on 7 December 2020.

Reliefs sought by petitioner

The Assin Bereku mason therefore sought seven reliefs from the court.

First, a declaration that the filing of parliamentary nomination forms by the first respondent when he held Canadian citizenship, at the time of filing the said nomination form between 5 and 9 October 2020, violates Article 94(2)(a) of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana 1992, Section 9(2)(a) of the Representation of the People Act 1992 (PNDCL 284) as amended, as well as the Public Elections Regulations 2020 (CL 127), and the same is illegal, void and of no effect whatsoever.

Second, the petitioner sought a declaration that the decision by the second respondent to clear the first respondent to run for election to become the MP for Assin North when the first respondent was not qualified to be a candidate, on account of holding dual nationality, violates Article 94(2)(a) of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana 1992, Section 9(2)(a) of the Representation of the People Act 1992 (PNDCL 284) as amended, as well as the Public Elections Regulations 2020 (CI 127), and the same is void and of no effect whatsoever.

The third was a declaration that the decision by the second respondent to allow the first respondent to contest parliamentary elections in Assin North, when he held Canadian citizenship at the time of filing his nomination form, violated Article 94 (2)(a) of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana 1992, the Representation of the People Act 1992 (PNDCL 284) as amended, as well as the Public Elections Regulations 2020 (CL 127), and the same is illegal, void and of no effect whatsoever.

Among the remaining reliefs sought by the petitioner are a declaration that the first respondent’s election as the Member of Parliament for Assin North is null and void and of no effect whatsoever, as the same violates Article 94(2)(a) of Constitution of the Republic of Ghana 1992, Section 9(2)(a) of the Representation of the People Act 1992 (PNDCL 284) as amended, as well as the Public Elections Regulations 2020 (CI 127), being laws regulating parliamentary elections in Ghana, as well as a declaration that the first respondent at the time of the election in Assin North was not qualified to contest as a candidate for the constituency in accordance with the electoral laws for the time being in force in Ghana.

The petitioner further sought an order of the high court cancelling the parliamentary election in Assin North and further orders directed at the second respondent (the EC) to conduct fresh elections in Assin North. Lastly, he requested an order of perpetual injunction restraining the first respondent (the MP-elect) from holding himself out as the MP-elect for Assin North or presenting himself to be sworn in as a member of Parliament.

Wilberforce Asare / Asaase Radio

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