Assin North MP appeals High citizenship ruling

The Member of Parliament for Assin North, James Gyakye Quayson, has filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal, Cape Coast, to challenge the decision of the High Court that declared his election a nullity.

On July 28, 2021, the Cape Coast High Court declared the Assin North Constituency 2020 Parliamentary election organised by the Electoral Commission (EC) null and void.

The court, presided over by Justice Kwasi Boakye said Mr Quayson, did not renounce his Canadian citizenship before he filed his nomination to contest the Parliamentary election on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and, thus, ordered the EC to organise a fresh election in the constituency.

Dissatisfied by the decision of the High Court, the Assin North lawmaker filed an appeal and joined Michael Ankomah-Ninfa, the petitioner, now respondent and the EC as respondents.

In the appeal, signed by counsel for the appellant, Justin Pwavra Teriwajah of Kaponde and Associate Chambers, the appellant argued that the trial judge erred in law when he did not allow for proof of foreign law in the determination of the issue of whether or not the appellant owed allegiance to a country other than Ghana.

Mr Teriwajah contended that the nullification by the High Court of the Assin North Parliamentary election in December, 2020, and the further order for the EC to conduct fresh elections in the said constituency lacked any constitutional and or legal basis and that the judgement was wholly against the weight of the evidence.

It is the case of the appellant that the lower court also erred in law, and acted out of jurisdiction, by  not referring the interpretation of article 94(2)(a) of the 1992 Constitution to the Supreme Court having regard to the different interpretations of the parties in the matter.

The appellant contends that the High Court wrongly assumed jurisdiction in breach of article 130(1) of the 1992 Constitution by purporting to enforce article 94(2)(a) thereof against the appellant on the alleged grounds that he owed allegiance to Canada at the time of his nomination as a candidate for the December 7, 2020 Parliamentary election.

Per rule 8(4) of Constitutional Instrument (C.I.19), the appellant argued that when different interpretations were placed in article 46 of the 1992 Constitution, per the pleadings of the parties in the matter, a mandatory stay of proceedings and a referral of article 46 of the Constitution to the Supreme Court for interpretation was necessary, per article 130(2) of the Constitution.

Counsel argued that the High Court erred when it refused, failed, and or neglected to appreciate that annulling the EC’s decision to clear the appellant for participation in the December 7, 2020 Parliamentary election, was a violation of the EC’s independence under article 46 of the 1992 Constitution.

He said that the High Court was wrong in holding that an election petition in the High Court was a competent procedure for challenging the decision of the EC to clear the appellant for the December 7, Parliamentary election.

That the High Court’s nullification of the EC decision in the hearing of an election petition was a wrong assumption of supervisory jurisdiction in breach of article 14 of the Constitution and Order 5t of C.I.55.

Mr Teriwajah, therefore, asked the Court of Appeal to declare that the judgement of the High Court, Cape Coast, dated July 28, 2021, was void having being issued out of jurisdiction.

The appellant prayed for an order to set aside the award of costs against the appellant and in favour of the respondent and the EC and, instead, award costs in favour of his client and any other order(s) as the court may deem fit.


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