NDC MP’s Evidence In French

The NDC MP and her lawyer at the Sekondi High Court yesterday

An application by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Jomoro, Dorcas Afo Toffey, praying a Sekondi High Court for leave to amend her answers to a petition in which she is being challenged to produce evidence of her renounced Ivorian citizenship before contesting and winning the 2020 election, has been granted by the court.

The MP has filed some documents she says is evidence of her renunciation, but the document is in French.

The court subsequently, ordered the NDC MP to file the amendment of her answers to the petition within seven days.

Earlier Ruling

It would be recalled that at the last sitting, the court, presided over by Justice Dr. Richmond Osei Hwere, struck out the application on grounds the MP had failed to comply with the court’s earlier order to exhibit proof of renunciation certificate as ordered by the court in its June 22, 2021 ruling.

The court said the application by the MP was as if there was no order to be obeyed.

It said “the Applicant has completely disregarded the order to produce documents evidencing her alleged renunciation of her Ivorian citizenship.”

The court therefore, did not dismiss the MP’s application but struck it out and indicated that the applicant was at liberty to reapply.

French Issue

At the court sitting yesterday, counsel for the MP, Godwin Edudzi Tamakloe, told the court that his client has filed an evidence of her renunciation as an Ivorian national.

The evidence, which is in a form of a letter and purported to have been written to the Ivorian government about the MP’s intention to renounce her Ivorian citizenship, is written in French.

Lawyer Tamakloe, therefore, prayed the court to grant their reapplication to amend his client’s answers.

However, Bright Okyere Agyekum, counsel for the petitioner who wants the MP to vacate her seat, opposed the request by the counsel for the MP and explained that the purported evidence of renunciation should be translated into the English language before the application could be considered.

Counsel for the MP, however, appealed to the court to grant the application and stressed that they would be able to file the amendment and the translated version of the evidence of renunciation together to fast track proceedings.

The court therefore, granted the request and ordered the respondent to file the amendment within seven days.

The Story

One Joshua Emuah Kofie from Nuba-Mpataba in the Jomoro Constituency is challenging Dorcas Toffey, to produce evidence of her renounced dual citizenship in court.

According to Kofie, the MP was not qualified to contest as the people’s representative in the country’s legislative assembly.

The Sekondi High Court on June 22, 2021 subsequently ordered the MP to within 10 days produce for inspection and copying of the renunciation certificate of her Ivorian citizenship or any document evidencing renunciation of her Ivorian citizenship.

The MP, the respondent in the case, appealed against the ruling of the court and followed it up with a motion for stay of execution pending appeal before the Court of Appeal in Cape Coast in the Central Region.

The Court of Appeal on July 26, 2021, unanimously dismissed the MP’s motion for stay of execution pending appeal.

With the view to obtaining compliance of the High Court ruling, the Registrar of the court served hearing notices on the parties to appear before him on September 23, 2021 for production, inspection and copying of the documents, as ordered by the High Court.

The respondent failed or refused to turn up before the Registrar as summoned and also failed to produce the document at any other forum for any inspection and copying as ordered.

On August 10, 2021, the MP filed an application praying the Sekondi High Court for leave to amend her answer to the petition. After a number of adjournments, the application was moved.

The MP, who was the applicant in that case, in her affidavit in support averred that per Article 48 of the nationality code and law on identification of persons, once someone who holds an Ivorian nationality expresses an interest in not being an Ivorian national again, in order to become a national of another country, the person forfeits his or her Ivorian nationality.

However, Joshua Kofie, the respondent in this case indicated in his affidavit in opposition that unless the applicant complied with the order of the court for production of the documents, the MP is undeserving of any favourable order of the court.

He continued that the instant application for amendment by the MP was in bad faith and seeks to circumvent the orders of the court.

In his ruling at the last court sitting, the judge, Justice Dr. Osei-Hwere made it clear that what the Appeals Court ruling meant was that the June 22 order of the High Court must be complied with.

Justice Dr. Osei-Hwere mentioned that the applicant claimed her said renunciation happened in 2019.

From Emmanuel Opoku, Sekondi