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Fireworks At ‘Canada’ MP Trial

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There was heated argument at the Cape Coast High Court in the Central Region on Wednesday when the case challenging the alleged dual citizenship of the opposition NDC MP for Assin North, James Gyakye Quayson, was called.

The court on April 21, 2021 had ordered the petitioners and the beleaguered NDC MP to file their written submissions, encompassing all their legal arguments and to return to court for a date for judgment.

Counsel for the petitioners, Frank Davies, complied with the court’s order but Abraham Amaliba, counsel for the NDC MP, refused to abide by the order to file the written submission to enable the court to determine the matter.

Mr. Amaliba rather came to the court asking that he had two applications to move.

His first application was an oral application, praying the judge, Justice Kwasi Boakye, to recuse himself on grounds that the judge had in the course of the hearing quizzed him (Amaliba) on whether the law requiring renunciation of citizenship was intended to be complied with before the filing of nominations.

He then submitted that by the said query, the judge had pre-determined the matter.

The court in refusing the application, noted that the respondent had opted to come by oral application rather than filing a written application setting out the basis of his application, and added that the statement alluded to by Mr. Amaliba was not contained in any record and he (judge) personally had no recollection of it.

In the absence of the respondent providing any evidence, the judge said the court could not grant the application.

The oral application was heard in camera, and the judge after the hearing updated the gallery when he returned to sit in open court.

The court then adjourned the matter until Tuesday, May 18, to hear the second application which relates to an application for stay of proceedings.

The petitioner, Michael Ankomah Nimfah, on January 6, 2021, applied for an interlocutory injunction to restrain the MP-elect from being sworn in and holding himself as MP for Assin North because he claimed the MP held Canadian citizenship.

The court granted the application, but in flagrant disregard for the court’s order, the MP-elect then was subsequently sworn in to be part of the Eighth Parliament of the Fourth of Republic on January 7.

In the substantive petition challenging the qualification to be an MP, the petitioner intimated per Article 94 of the 1992 Constitution, the Representation of the People Law, Act 284 and the CI 127, Mr. Quayson was not qualified at the time of filing to contest the 2020 parliamentary elections and should be disqualified.

The petitioner had claimed that as at the time Mr. Quayson was filing his papers with the Electoral Commission to enable him to go to Parliament, he was holding dual citizenship (both Ghanaian and Canadian), the 1992 Constitution expressly does not allow for all those aspiring to hold public office in Ghana.

The petitioners are therefore, asking the court to declare the Assin North Parliamentary election null and void, and order fresh election.

The MP has fought back, arguing that it is not at the time of filing to contest that should be used to disqualify a candidate.

He insisted that once the application to renounce the citizenship was set in motion, it was deemed to be effective, and has also held that it is at the time of being sworn as the MP, that the law applies.

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