I cannot declare Assin North Parliamentary seat vacant-Alban Bagbin

    186

    The Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon.Alban Bagbin has indicated that he is not clothed with the legal basis to declare the Assin North Parliamentary seat vacant.

    This is premised on the fact that he(The Speaker) has received certified true copies of documents from lawyers of Hon. James Quayson, the Assin North MP filed in respect of an appeal and an application for stay of execution respectively against the Judgment of the Cape Coast High Court.

    The above is indicated in a response letter to a declaratory order, signed by the Clerk of Parliament, Cyril Nsiah and addessed to the Registrar of the General Jurisdiction Division of the Law Courts Complex,Accra.

    “Mr.Speaker directs that I bring the following to your attention and necessary action.That prior to the receipt of this process,Mr Speaker had received certified true copies of documents from the lawyers of James Quayson, MP for the Assin North Constituency filed in respect of an appeal against the judgment of the High Court, Cape Coast and an application for Stay of Execution of the said judgment of the High Court, Cape Coast,”he said.

    “That in the circumstances, Mr.Speaker is not clothed with the 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 the standing Orders of the House,”he added.

    On July 28, 2021, the Cape Coast High Court nullified the 2020 parliamentary election results of the Assin North Constituency.

    Justice Kwasi Boakye, the presiding judge called for a fresh election to be conducted for the Assin North constituency by the Electoral Commission.

    The judge also injuncted Hon James Quayson from holding himself as the Member of Parliament of the Constituency.

    The above was the outcome of a Parliamentary election petition filed by Michael Ankomah-Nimfa to challenge the validity of James Quayson as a properly elected Member of Parliament arguing that at the time of filing his nomination to contest for the election, Hon Quayson owed allegiance to another country(Canada) in addition to Ghana and had not renounced same.

    The petitioner further argued that it is a violation of Article 94(2a) for James Quayson to hold himself as the MP of the Assin North Constituency.Thus called on the court to declare the election as null and void.

    Meanwhile in the response letter, the Clerk of Parliament makes reference to the provisions of Article 117 of the 1992 Constitution and a circular from His Lordship the Chief Justice dated 22nd February, 2021 titled “Enforcement of Articles 117 and 118 of the constitution-Immunity from service of process and arrest.

    In conclusion, the letter admonishes the Court Registrars and bailiffs to respect and comply with the constitutional provisions in Arcticle 117, 118 and the above circular from His Lordship the Chief Justice to ensure mutual respect and balance of the Legislature and Judiciary.