James Gyakye Quayson
Director General of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service (GPS) has been petitioned to conduct a formal criminal investigation into the conduct of James Gyakye Quayson, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin North Constituency in the Central Region.
The petition, filed by a private citizen, Richard Takyi-Mensah, accused Mr. Quayson of making a false statutory declaration on his nomination forms submitted to the Electoral Commission (EC), adding that the MP appended his signature before a judicial officer that he did not own allegiance to any country other than Ghana, which was false.
According to the petitioner, the MP knew that he was a Canadian citizen at the time of making the statutory declaration.
The petitioner indicated further that the lawmaker, on July 30, 2019, again lied under oath when he applied for a Ghanaian passport and was asked whether he held dual citizenship.
Mr. Takyi-Mensah stated categorically that the MP though denied having a dual citizenship status at that material time was indeed holding a Canadian passport as a citizen of that country.
“Sir, Mr. James Gyakye Quayson has perjured himself by lying under oath and I have taken steps to petition your office for official investigation to be conducted,” the petition to the CID boss stated in part.
Parliament, at the stroke of January 7, 2021, erupted in chaos as the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs scuffled with their colleagues from the ruling NPP during the election of the Speaker.
The opposition MPs, led by Haruna Iddrisu, repeatedly interrupted the election processes, demanding for the NDC MP for Assin North Constituency to be allowed to take part in the voting despite a restraining order from a high court in Cape Coast.
He eventually took part in the election of the Speaker of Parliament amidst controversy and confusion over his eligibility.
The Clerk of Parliament, Cyril Kwabena Oteng Nsiah, had told the House he could not recognize Mr. Quayson as the MP-Elect for Assin North after having been served with an injunction by the Cape Coast High Court.
He said the then MP-Elect could not subject himself to be sworn-in as the MP for the Assin North Constituency because of the injunction, but he and the NDC argued he (Quayson) was yet to be served the writ of injunction.
Cape Coast Court
The High Court in Cape Coast on January 5, 2021 granted an injunction restraining Mr. Quayson from holding himself as the MP-Elect for Assin North Constituency over his nationality.
Mr. Quayson was accused of owing allegiance to Canada, contrary to Article 94 (1) (a) of the 1992 Constitution for which the presiding judge, Justice Kwadwo Boakye Tawiah, said the issues raised against the MP-Elect warranted a full trial.
The court accordingly directed for the accused person to stop describing himself as the MP-Elect for the area after a petition to the court by one Michael Ankoma-Nimfah, a mason and resident of Assin Bereku.
The plaintiff, in a suit filed before the Cape Coast High Court, said that the MP-Elect did not renounce his Canadian citizenship when he filed his nomination to contest the parliamentary seat.
According to him, failure of Mr. Quayson, who ran on the ticket of the NDC, to renounce his Canadian citizenship prior to the filing of his nomination form with the EC disqualified him to contest for the parliamentary election since it offended Article 94(2) (a) of the 1992 Constitution.
He therefore asked the court to declare that the filing of the parliamentary nomination form by the NDC MP-Elect “violates the constitution and is therefore illegal, void and of no effect.”
The petitioner again prayed for the court to place a perpetual injunction on Mr. Quayson to restrain him from holding himself out as MP-Elect for Assin North Constituency.
Earlier, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), acting through its lawyers at Marfo & Associates Legal Practitioners, also initiated steps to take legal action to challenge Mr. Quayson’s Ghanaian citizenship.
The party wrote to the Comptroller of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) and demanded among other things, including the travel history of Mr. Quayson and his renunciation certificate in respect of the Canadian citizenship prior to him filling to contest the Assin North Parliamentary seat on the ticket of the NDC.
Prior to the general election, a group calling itself Concerned Citizens of Assin North, petitioned the EC in the Central Region to withdraw the candidature of Mr. Quayson.
Its members had alleged that Mr. Quayson owed allegiance to Canada instead of Ghana and therefore could not stand to be voted to Parliament.
It would be recalled that the Accra Fast Track High Court, in 2012, sentenced Adamu Dramani Sakande to two years imprisonment after he was found guilty of false declaration of office, perjury and deceit of a public officer.
A Bawku-based cattle dealer, Sumaila Bielbiel, had stated that the then MP for Bawku Central, Mr. Sakande held dual citizenship in breach of the constitutional provision.
He contested the Bawku Central seat on the ticket of the ruling NPP in 2008 and snatched it from Mahama Ayariga, the incumbent.
By Ernest Kofi Adu