The Court of Appeal has dismissed an application for Stay of Proceedings filed by embattled Assin North Member of Parliament (MP), James Gyakye Quayson.
The panel of three presided over by Justice Henry Anthony Kwoffie ruled that the applicant has not demonstrated any exceptional circumstances that warrant the grant of the Stay of Proceedings.
Lawyers of the Assin North MP led by Tsatsu Tsikata had prayed the Court of Appeal to Stay his criminal trial at the High Court.
Tsatsu Tsikata had raised Constitutional concerns regarding three of the five criminal charges – knowingly making a false statutory declaration (Count 3), perjury (Count 4), and false declaration for office (Count 5) which he argued will require Supreme Court interpretation.
According to Mr. Tsikata, “due process in a criminal charge requires an accused to be aware of the elements of the charge that has been brought against him and that is why the issues of Article 94 (2)(a) is key in the matter.”
But, Richard Gyembiby, a Principal State Attorney opposed the grant of the application on grounds that, the applicant did not meet the threshold for a Stay of proceedings to be granted him.
The Assin North MP is also facing two counts of the deceit of Public officer (Count 1) and forgery of passport or travel certificates (Count 2).
He has pleaded not guilty to all five charges and has been granted bail.
On May 18, the High Court in Accra said it will on June 1, 2022 fix a date for the commencement of the trial of the MP.
James Gyakye Quayson, who has since April 13 been barred from performing his parliamentary duties by the Supreme Court, is facing five criminal charges.
The court presided over by Justice Mary Maame Ekue Nsenkyire adjourned the case after the conclusion of case management conference.
James Gyakye Quayson has been charged with five counts of deceit of Public officer, forgery of passport or travel certificates, knowingly making a false statutory declaration, perjury and false declaration for office on February 9.
He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges
On Wednesday, May 18, his counsel Tsatsu Tsikata indicated to the court of pendency of an application for Stay of Proceedings at the Court of Appeal.
But, the court said, such an application cannot stop proceedings.
Mr. Tsikata also indicated to the court that, they have filed another application seeking an order for the 3rd, 4th and 5th charges to be stuck out.
The court said it will determine that application on the three charges on June 1 and subsequently fixed a date for the trial to start.
The National Democratic Congress MP pleaded not guilty to five criminal charges on February 15.
He was admitted to bail in the sum of GHc100, 000 bail with a surety to be justified. He is also to deposit his passport at the registrar of the court.
The State on February 3, charged James Gyakye Quayson, the MP for Assin North with five counts including perjury.
Mr. Quayson, who contested the Parliamentary seat of the Assin North Constituency and won on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress, has had his seat declared vacant by the Cape Coast High Court based on his Canadian nationality switch. But he has since filed an appeal.
With the criminal suit filed on behalf of the Attorney General by the Director of Public Prosecution Mrs Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, Mr Quayson is facing five criminal charges.
The charges are Deceit of Public officer, forgery of passport or travel certificates, knowingly making a false statutory declaration, perjury, and false declaration for office.
According to the brief facts of the case, the accused person James Gyakye Quayson is the Member of Parliament for Assin North Constituency.
It said, the complainant, Richard Takyi-Mensah is a teacher and a resident of Yamoransa in the Central Region of Ghana.
According to the prosecution, on July 26, 2019, the accused person signed an application form for a Republic of Ghana passport.
It said, in the application form, that he indicated he is a Ghanaian and does not have dual citizenship.
The prosecution stated that the accused at the time held Canadian citizenship issued on October 30, 2016, but failed to declare same on the application form.
The prosecution added that the passport application of the accused person was vetted on July 29, 2019.
“Based on this false information together with the other information provided by the accused person on the passport application form, he was issued with a Ghanaian passport, number G2538667 on 2nd August 2019,” the brief facts stated.
The brief facts stated that “before the 2020 General Elections of Ghana was conducted on 7th December 2020, nominations were opened between the 5th and the 9th of October 2020.
“The accused person picked up nomination forms to contest for the position of Member of Parliament for Assin North Constituency.
“The accused person at the time was a Ghanaian and a Canadian citizen, making him a dual citizenship holder” the brief facts stated.
“He was therefore disqualified under Article 94(2)(a) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana to be a Member of Parliament.
“In part IV of the nomination forms of the Electoral Commission of Ghana, the accused person used a statutory declaration which he had sworn to on 6th October 2020 before the District Court Registrar at Assin Fosu stating that he does not owe allegiance to any country other than Ghana,” it stated.
“The accused person further went ahead to file his nomination forms on 8th October 2020 with the false information in the statutory declaration.
“Based on this false information together with other information provided by the accused person in the nomination forms, his nomination was accepted by the Electoral Commission,” the prosecution noted.
Victory in election 2020
He contested for the position and subsequently won the seat. The accused person was issued a Certificate of Renunciation of his Canadian citizenship dated 26th November 2020, about forty-eight days after he had made the false statutory declaration and filed his nomination forms.
“On January 14, 2021, the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department received a petition dated January 11, 2021, from the complainant in which the complainant reported these actions of the accused, leading to investigations against him.
In his cautioned statement to the police, the accused person claimed that at the material time, he honestly believed that he did not owe allegiance to any other country.
The accused person was subsequently charged with the offences in the charge sheet.
It is based on these facts that the accused person, James Gyakye Quayson has been arraigned for trial.
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