High Court presided over by Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzuh has fixed Tuesday 11 July 2023 as date for her ruling on a motion moved by Tsatsu Tsikata, lawyer for Assin North member of Parliament James Gyakye Quayson, seeking to stay proceedings at High Court.
Mr Tsikata moved his motion in court today, 6 July 2023, essentially asking the court to hold on with the trial of Mr Gyakye Quayson because of an application he has filed at the Court of Appeal challenging the decision of the High Court that dismissed the defendant’s earlier application to vary the day-to-day hearing of the James Gyakye Quayson trial.
Contention of AG
Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame in his argument opposing the application pointed out in Court that Mr Tsikata’s application is grossly incompetent because the very dates he seeks to challenge which were from Tuesday 20th to Thursday 22nd June 2023, are long past.
Godfred Yeboah Dame argued that because the said dates have passed, it is his considered opinion and case that lawyer for the accused persons (James Gyakye Quayson) is seeking to waste the court’s time with the instant application.
To this end, Godfred Yeboah Dame invited Justice Yanzuh’s court to dismiss the application and to order the trial to resume.
Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzuh, in a short ruling, said she will deliver her ruling on the application for stay of proceedings on Tuesday 11 July 2023.
Charges / Particulars of offence
Mr James Gyakye Quayson has been charged with five counts. The first is deceit of public officer contrary to section 251 (b) of the Criminal Offices Act, 1960 (Act 29).
The particulars of offence for the first charge are that “on or about the 29th of July 2019 at the Passport Office, Accra with intent to facilitate the obtaining of a Ghanaian passport, “[James Gyakye Quayson] deceived the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by making a false statement that [he did] not have a dual citizenship, a statement which [he] did not have a good reason to believe to be true at the time of making it”.
His second charge, Forgery of Passport or Travel Certificate, Contrary to Section 15(1)(B) of the Passports and Travel Certificates Act, 1967 (NLCD 155), has the following particulars of offence, “James Gyakye Quayson; on or about the 26th of July 2019 at the Passport Office, Accra, made a false statement that you do not have a dual citizenship for the purpose of procuring a passport, a statement you knew to be untrue at the time of making it”.
The third charge is knowingly making a false statutory declaration, contrary to section 5 of the Statutory Declarations Act, 1971 (Act 389) and the particulars of offence are that “James Gyakye Quayson; on or about 6th October 2020 at Assin Fosu made a statutory declaration that you do not owe allegiance to any country other than Ghana, a statement which you knew to be false in a material particular at the time of making it”.
Perjury, contrary to section 210(1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) is the fourth charge and the particulars of offence are that “James Gyakye Quayson; on or about 6th October 2020 at Assin Fosu, made a false statement on oath that you do not owe allegiance to any country other than Ghana, a statement you did not have a reason to believe to be true at the time of making it”.
The last charge which is “false declaration for office, contrary to section 248 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), has the following particulars of offence; “James Gyakye Quayson; on or about 8th October 2020 at the Electoral Commission Office, Accra, knowingly used a declaration that you do not owe allegiance to any country other than Ghana for the purpose of obtaining a public office as a Member of Parliament, a statement you knew to be material for obtaining that office”.
The brief facts of this case are that the accused person James Gyakye Quayson is the Member of Parliament for Assin North Constituency. The complainant, Richard Takyi-Mensah, is a teacher and a resident of Yamoransa in the Central Region of Ghana.
On 26 July 2019, the accused person signed an application form for a Republic of Ghana passport. In the application form, he indicated that he is a Ghanaian and does not have dual citizenship.
The accused at the time held a Canadian citizenship issued on 30 October 2016 but failed l to declare same on the application form. The passport application of the accused person was vetted on the 29 of July l 2019.
Based on this false information, together with the other information provided by the accused person on the passport application form, he was issued with a Ghanaian passport, number G2538667 on 2nd August 2019.
Again, before the 2020 General Elections of Ghana was conducted on 7 December 2020, nominations were opened between the 5 and 9 of October 2020.
The accused person picked up nomination forms to contest for the position of Member of Parliament for Assin North Constituency. The accused person at the time was a Ghanaian and a Canadian citizen, making him a dual citizenship holder.
He was therefore disqualified under Article 94(2) (a) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana to be a Member of Parliament. In part IV of the nomination forms of the Electoral Commission of Ghana, the accused person used a statutory declaration which he had sworn to on 6th October 2020 before the District Court Registrar at Assin Fosu stating that he does not owe allegiance to any country other than Ghana.
The accused person further went ahead to file his nomination forms on 8th October 2020 with the false information in the statutory declaration. Based on this false information together with other information provided by the accused person in the nomination forms, his nomination was accepted by the Electoral Commission.
He contested for the position and subsequently won the seat. The accused person was issued a Certificate of Renunciation of his Canadian citizenship dated 26th November 2020, about forty-eight days after he had made the false statutory declaration and filed his nomination forms on 14 January 2021, the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department received a petition dated 11 January 2021 from the complainant in which the complainant reported these actions of the accused, leading to investigations against him.
In his cautioned statement to the police, the accused person (James Gyakye Quayson) claimed that at the material time, he honestly believed that he did not owe allegiance to any other country. The accused person was subsequently charged with the offences in the charge sheet.