I can’t declare Assin North seat vacant – Speaker

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has declined the Declaratory Order from the Registrar of a Court in Accra, to declare the Assin North seat vacant. 

A Cape Coast High Court, Presided over by Justice Kwasi Boakye, on July 20, 2021, ruled that the election of James Gyakye Quayson as the MP for the area was null and void.

The court held that Mr Quayson violated Ghana’s constitutional and other statutory provisions that guided the country’s elections in relation to his Canadian citizenship. 

The ruling followed a petition by Michael Ankomah-Nifah, a constituent of Assin North.

Subsequently, the Registrar of the General Jurisdiction in a declaratory order requested that the Speaker declared the seat vacant to pave way for fresh parliamentary polls in the Central Regional constituency. 

But the Speaker, in a reply signed by the Clerk to Parliament, Cyril Nsiah, said the legal tussle was not exhausted for the seat to be declared vacant. 

“Prior to receiving [the letter], the Speaker had received certified true copies of documents from the lawyers of James Quayson, MP for Assin North Constituency filed in respect of an appeal against the judgment of the High Court, Cape Coast, and an application for the Stay of Execution of the said judgement. 

“On the face of the certified true copies received by Mr Speaker, the matter in question is still sub judice and has thus not been concluded by the courts with competent jurisdiction on the matter. 

“In the circumstances, Mr Speaker is not clothed with legal basis to make a pronouncement on the matter and can thus not declare the occurrence of a vacancy in the House pursuant to the 1992 Constitution and Standing Orders of the House,” the letter read in part. 

The letter further reminded the Registry of the Court of the provisions of Article 117 of the 1992 Constitution with regards to services on the Speaker, or a Member or the Clerk to Parliament and the circular from the Chief Justice on February 22, 2021 which urged the strict enforcement of the provision of Article 117 and 118 of the Constitution – Immunity of officers of Parliament from Service of process and arrest. 

Mr Quayson, on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress, won the Assin North seat occupied by the New Patriotic Party in the Seventh Parliament. 

Despite the court ruling, Mr Gyakye said his victory was a “pure and legitimate one handed over to us by the discerning people of Assin North and we shall resist every attempt to subvert the true will of the people.

“Victory from the masses is far superior to the dark machinations of an elite few,” he said in a statement days after the court ruling. 


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