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Assin North case: James Gyakye Quayson’s election null and void, says Supreme Court

James Gyakye Quayson claims election as the MP for Assin North

James Gyakye Quayson

A seven-member Supreme Court panel presided over by Justice Jones Dotse has, by unanimous decision, declared the election and swearing-in of the MP for Assin North in the Central Region, James Gyakye Quayson, sitting on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), as unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect.

The apex court held that Quayson was not qualified to contest for the position of Member of Parliament at the time of filing his nomination forms in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.

The court further held that the Electoral Commission (EC) erred when it allowed Quayson to stand for the Assin North seat in the 2020 general election when he had not shown evidence of renunciation of his Canadian citizenship.

The panel, which also included Justices Nene Amegatcher, Mariama Owusu, Gertrude Torkornoo, Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, Yonny Kulendi and Barbara Ackah-Yensu, announced in court that the full reasons for their decision will be made available on 7 June 2023.

Listen to Frank Davies, counsel for the plaintiff, speaking in the clip attached below:

 

On 13 April 2022 the Supreme Court injuncted James Gyakye Quayson from holding himself as the MP for Assin North.

“The MP is restrained from holding himself as MP for Assin North and restrained from attending Parliament to conduct business on behalf of Assin North,” the presiding judge ruled.

Background

Quayson, in spite of a high court judgment that declared his election as an MP in the 2020 parliamentary election unconstitutional, continued to hold himself as a Member of Parliament and was seen attending sittings of the House and carrying out parliamentary duties.

Displeased with his actions, the petitioner in the high court action, Michael Ankomah-Nimfah, a resident of Assin North, filed an application at the Supreme Court seeking an order to injunct Quayson. He also sought an interpretation of Article 94 (2a) of the 1992 constitution of the republic, which states that “a person shall not be qualified to be a member of Parliament if he – (a) owes allegiance to a country other than Ghana”.

The injunction order of the Supreme Court will remain in force until the final determination of the application seeking interpretation of Article 94 (2a). The Cape Coast high court restrained Quayson from holding himself as the MP for Assin North on the NDC ticket.

On Wednesday 28 July 2021, Justice Kwasi Boakye also ordered that fresh parliamentary elections be held in the constituency. This followed a parliamentary election petition, brought by Michael Ankomah-Nimfah to the Cape Coast high court, seeking to annul the MP’s election.

Quayson polled 17,498 votes, against 14,793 for the New Patriotic Party’s Abena Durowaa Mensah, in the 7 December 2020 parliamentary election.

On 30 December 2020, Michael Ankomah-Nimfah filed a parliamentary election petition at the Cape Coast high court, challenging Quayson’s eligibility to be an MP.

He argued that the MP was not eligible because, at the time he (Quayson) filed his nomination to stand as a parliamentary candidate, he was still a citizen of Canada. The act of filing, he argued, was against the express provisions of Article 94 (2a) of the 1992 constitution and Section 9(2) of the Representation of the People Act 1992 (PNDCL 284).

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra

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