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Assin North case: Supreme Court review panel upholds decision to nullify Gyakye Quayson 2020 election

The Supreme Court ruled on 25 July that the application for review filed by Tsatsu Tsikata, the lead counsel for Quayson, lacked merit.

A nine-member Supreme Court review panel presided over by the Chief Justice, Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo, has by unanimous decision dismissed an application by lawyers for James Gyakye Quayson seeking to review the decision by a seven-member panel which declared the election and swearing-in of the National Democratic Congress MP for Assin North, James Gyakye Quayson, as unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect.

The apex court of the land today (25 July 2023) said “the application for review filed by Tsatsu Tsikata, lawyer for James Gyakye Quayson, lacks merit and is therefore dismissed in its entirety”.

The other members of the Supreme Court review panel chaired by the Chief Justice were Justice Mariama Owusu, Justice Avril Lovelace-Johnson, Justice Professor Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, Justice Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi, Justice Barbara Ackah-Yensu, Justice Samuel Asiedu, Justice George Kingsley Koomson and Justice Ernest Gaewu.

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In its earlier decision on 17 May 2023, the court held that Quayson was not qualified to contest for the position of Member of Parliament at the time he filed his nomination forms in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.

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

On 13 April 2022 the Supreme Court injuncted 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.

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Background

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

Displeased by 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.

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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).

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