The Supreme Court, in a 5-2 majority decision, yesterday ruled that James Gyakye Quayson ceases to be the Member of Parliament for Assin North in the Central Region, upholding a previous decision by the Cape Coast High Court.
Mr Gyakye Quayson therefore can no longer hold himself as MP, nor enter Parliament on official duties as someone representing his constituency. “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.
This means Parliament, through Speaker Alban Bagbin, has to trigger the processes for the Electoral Commission (EC) to conduct a by-election in the constituency, once the decision of the apex court of the land is officially communicated to the House.
While Justice Agnes Dordzie and Nene Amegatcher dissented, Jones Dotse, as Court President, Prof. Henrietta Mensah Bonsu, Mariama Owusu, Gertrude Torkornoo and Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi granted the injunction application against the embattled MP.
High Court ruling
The Cape Coast High Court, presided over by Justice Kwasi Boakye, had restrained James Gyakye Quayson from holding himself as the MP for Assin North.
On Wednesday, 28 July 2021, Justice Kwasi Boakye also ordered for fresh parliamentary elections to be held in the constituency. This followed a parliamentary election petition brought to the court by Michael Ankomah-Nimfah seeking to annul the MP’s election.
Quayson polled 17,498 votes against 14,793 by the New Patriotic Party’s Abena Durowaa Mensah in the 7 December 2020 parliamentary election.
On December 30, 2020, Michael Ankomah-Nimfah, a resident of Assin-North constituency, 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. 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).
Mr Quayson has since been fighting under the law to set this aside, with the matter currently pending at the Court of Appeal.
In spite of a High Court judgment that declared his election as an MP in the 2020 parliamentary election unconstitutional, Mr Quayson continued to hold himself as a Member of Parliament, and was seen attending sittings of the House and carrying out his parliamentary duties.
Displeased with his actions, the petitioner in the High Court action, Michael Ankomah-Nimfah, filed an application at the Supreme Court seeking an order to injunct him. 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”.
In a related development, the Attorney General department has charged the MP among others, for deceiving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, by making a false statement that he did not have dual citizenship in order to acquire a Ghanaian passport.
Mr. Quayson has also been charged with perjury for making a false statement at Assin Fosu, that he does not owe allegiance to any country other than Ghana, a statement he did not have a reason to believe to be true at the time of making it.
Again, the MP has been charged for making a false declaration for office, when he knowingly said he does not owe allegiance to any country other than Ghana for the purpose of obtaining a public office as a Member of Parliament, a statement he knew to be material for obtaining that office.