Criminal process against Assin North MP unconstitutional – Minority

The Minority Group in Parliament has said that attempts by government to serve criminal process on the Member of Parliament for Assin North, James Gyakye Quayson, is an “unconstitutional act”.

A bailiff from the Registry of the High Court was on Tuesday reported to be in Parliament to effect service of a court process on the embattled MP in his office in breach of constitutional provisions of Article 117 of the 1992 Constitution which protects lawmakers from arrests while on parliamentary duty.

“Civil or criminal process coming from any court or place out of Parliament shall not be served on, or executed in relation to, the Speaker or a member or the clerk to Parliament while he is on his way to, attending at or returning from, any proceedings of Parliament”, Article 117 states.

Fortified by the above, the Minority said they were deeply concerned about what they said was the fragrant breach of the constitution.

“This is the first time in the history of Ghana that such a flagrant disregard of the privileges of Parliament and breach of the Constitution has taken place.

“We in the Minority are deeply concerned by that blatantly unconstitutional act which was recognised by the Supreme Court for what it is- a brazen violation of the Constitution,” the caucus said in a statement signed by its leader, Haruna Iddrisu.

In the view of the Minority, the recent legal suits brought against Mr Quayson was a desperation by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government to unseat the duly elected Member of Parliament.

On claims by the Bailiff that he was assaulted by the police escort of the first term MP, the Minority claimed could not be true.

“We wish to emphasise that the Honourable Member for Assin North, James Gyakye Quayson, does not have a police guard let alone a police escort to prevent service. This fact can be cross checked from the Ghana Police Service.”

It added that “in their desperate attempt to implicate the Honourable Member in acts of criminality, the NPP lawyers are now seeking to concoct facts to justify criminal charges against the Hon. Member.

“This is a sad development for our democracy and we wish to condemn it in no uncertain terms,” the statement read in part.

A Cape Coast High Court in July 2021, annulled the election of Mr Qusyson as MP for Assin North on the grounds that he held a Canadian citizenship at the time he contested the elections thus violating constitutional provisions and other statutory provisions that guide Ghana’s elections.

But even before the Appeals Court would rule on the appeal application filed before it by the embattled lawmaker setting aside the ruling, the plaintiff in the case proceeded to the Supreme Court to stop Mr Quayson from carrying himself about as an MP.

However, the Minority contended that the legal suits brought against Quayson, was a desperate attempt by government to cow the caucus into submission to the obnoxious Electronic Transactions Levy (E-Levy) which is currently before the House.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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