Lawyers for the embattled Assin North MP James Gyakye Quayson have filed for stay of proceedings at the High Court adjudicating the case involving criminal charges brought against him by the state.
Tsatsu Tsikata, lead lawyer for Quayson, told Justice Elfreda Dankyi’s court that they have filed an application for stay of proceedings at the High Court which is expected to be moved on 28 March 2022.
The director of public prosecution (DPP), Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, told the court that the state has filed all of its witness statements and has made other disclosures as ordered by the court and is therefore ready for the case management conference (CMC).
Tsikata, suggested to the court that in light of his pending application, the next court sitting can be adjourned to Monday 28 March so all matters can be dealt with at the proposed sitting.
Justice Elfreda Dankyi after hearing the parties ruled that since she does not have access to the court premises on Mondays, she will adjourn sitting to Tuesday 29 March 2022, to hear the pending application and also to conduct the CMC.
Charges against MP
The first charge preferred against Quayson by the state is “deceit of a public officer”, contrary to Section 251(b) of the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29).
On this charge, the Attorney General declares that Quayson, “on or about 29 July 2019 at the Passport Office, Accra, with intent to facilitate the obtaining of a Ghanaian passport, deceived the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by making a false statement that he did not have dual citizenship, a statement which he did not have a good reason to believe to be true at the time of making it.
The second charge is “forgery of passport or travel certificate”, contrary to Section 15(1)(b) of the Passports and Travel Certificates Act 1967 (NLCD 155).
The state explains that Quayson on or about 26 July 2019 at the Passport Office in Accra, made a false statement that he did not hold dual citizenship, for the purposes of procuring a Ghanaian passport, a statement he knew to be untrue at the time of making it, the charge sheet says.
Knowingly making a false statutory declaration, contrary to Section 5 of the Statutory Declarations Act 1971 (Act 389), is the third charge against the MP.
The Attorney General added that James Gyakye Quayson, on or about 6 October 2020 at Assin Fosu, made a statutory declaration that he did not owe allegiance to any country other than Ghana, a statement which he knew to be false in a material particular at the time of making it.
The fourth charge is “perjury”, contrary to Section 210(1) of the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29), and the last is “false declaration for office, also contrary to Section 248 of the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29)”.
On the fourth charge, the Attorney General states that Quayson, on or about 6 October 2020 at Assin Fosu, made a false statement on oath that he did not owe allegiance to any country other than Ghana.
And with the fifth charge, the state claims that on or about 8 October 2020 at the Electoral Commission office in Accra, James Gyakye Quayson knowingly used a declaration that he did not owe allegiance to any country other than Ghana for the purposes of obtaining a public office as a member of Parliament, a statement he knew to be material to obtaining that office.
The Cape Coast high court restrained Quayson from holding himself as the National Democratic Congress (NDC) 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 Cape Coast high 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 30 December 2020, a resident of Assin North, 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. 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).
Quayson has since been fighting under the law to set this aside, with the matter currently pending at the Court of Appeal.
Michael Ankomah Nimfah, the resident of the constituency who initiated the action against the MP at the high court, has sought the Supreme Court’s intervention to stop Quayson from performing parliamentary duties.
That matter remains pending, as court officials have been unable to serve the MP with the court processes.