Speaker Dares Court, Refuses To Declare Assin North Seat Vacant

Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Bagbin, has declined to declare that the Assin North Parliamentary seat is vacant even though the High Court in Cape Coast has declared its occupant, James Gyekye Quayeson, illegitimate.

The Speaker explains in a letter to the Registrar of the High Court in Accra that the seat cannot be declared vacant because the occupant has since the judgment by the court, filed an appeal.

Parliament was served with Declaratory Order from the High Court, Cape Coast by a bailiff from the Law Court Complex in Accra on August 31, 2021, in the matter of Michael Ankomah-Nimfah Vs James Quayson, MP for Assin North.

Quayson is being dragged for his parliamentary seat because his critics claim he won the seat while being a dual Ghanaian-Canadian citizen.

Parliament, through its Clerk Cyril K.O Nsiah, however, acknowledged the Order of Service from the Court.

According to the letter dated September 3, 2021, the Speaker has also received certified true copies of the document from counsel for James Quayson in respect to the appeal against the Cape Coast Court ruling and an application for stay of execution of the said judgment by the Cape Coast High Court.

It said Parliament was of the view that the matter is still under judicial consideration and therefore cannot discuss it since it has been concluded by the court.

“That in the circumstances, Mr. Speaker is therefore not clothed with the legal basis to make a pronouncement on the matter and thus cannot declare the occurrence of a vacancy in the House pursuant to the 1992 Constitution and Standing Orders of the House,” the clerk wrote.

Quayson’s lawyers filed an appeal on his behalf on Monday, August 2, 2021, saying the trial judge, Justice Kwasi Boakye, had erred in ruling that he held Canadian citizenship when he registered to run as an MP.

Among other things, Quayson is asking the Cape Coast Court of Appeal to declare as null and void the judgment delivered by the trial judge.

His lawyers have since applied for a stay of execution of the High Court orders pending the determination of the appeal.

On 28th July, Justice Kwasi Boakye had ruled that the MP had weakened his case when his renunciation certificate date showed November 26, 2020, less than two weeks to the December 7, 2020 elections.

According to the court, he still had his Canadian citizenship when he filed for parliamentary elections between October 5 and October 9, 2020, meaning the NDC MP was not qualified when he applied to compete for the Assin North seat.

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