A Cape Coast High Court has cancelled the parliamentary elections in the Assin North constituency in the 2020 parliamentary elections.
The court presided over by Justice Kwasi Boakye, ordered for fresh elections to be conducted in the constituency.
The case of the petitioner is that the MP at the time of filing to contest the 2020 parliamentary elections, had not renounced his Canadian citizenship and thus held dual nationality.
He further avers that at the close of nominations on the 9th of October, the Assin MP had not still renounced his Canadian nationality. He says the Assin North MP who still holds himself as the MP is a complete violation of Article 94 (2a) and the court should declare his election null and void.
Handing his judgement on Wednesday, the judge said the MP, Joe Gyaakye Quayson violated constitutional provisions and other statutory provisions that guide Ghana’s elections.
According to the judge, on the capacity of the petitioner to maintain an action against the Assin North MP, the MP’s challenge of his capacity was overruled. He said the petitioner had the capacity and the petition was competent.
The Court explained that its jurisdiction could be invoked in an election petition when the EC conducts a parliamentary election and declares the results of the contest. Thus, he argued the Court’s jurisdiction was properly invoked.
The Independence of the EC in the conduct of elections is not in doubt and the court won’t interfere in the operations of the EC unless an illegality and an unconstitutionality are being perpetrated by the EC.
He ruled that nothing precludes a petitioner from invoking the High Court’s original jurisdiction and, therefore, dismissed this challenge by Joe Gyaakye Quayson.
The judge said the facts of the matter were not in doubt. That is on December 17, 2019, the Assin North MP applied to renounce his Canadian citizenship.
Between October 5th and 9th filed to contest the Parliamentary elections. That he got his renunciation certificate on November 26, 2020.
The argument of the Assin North MP was that the delay in getting his certificate was purely administrative and arose out of the two-month lockdown as a result of the pandemic.
To this, the court said, based on the certificate the MP submitted in his affidavit in response to the petition, he only ceased to be a Canadian citizen on November 26, 2020, and not any period before or at the time of filing to contest the elections.
The court indicated that the evidence on the face of the certificate destroys the case of the Assin North MP.
“It would be a bad precedent and a cancerous tumour in Ghana’s legal jurisprudence. Thus, he ceased to be a Canadian citizen after November 26, 2020,” the judge said.
On the issue of whether or not the election of the Assin North MP is null and void, the judge said the MP violated the constitutional provisions and other statutory provisions that guide Ghana’s elections.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked for the withdrawal of an application seeking its supervisory jurisdiction in a case where the Cape Coast High Court is set to decide a petition challenging the eligibility of the Assin North MP.
The apex court argued that due process was not followed. The application was subsequently withdrawn by lawyers for the MP, paving the way for the Cape Coast High Court to rule on the matter Wednesday.
This comes after Lawyers for the Member of Parliament for Assin North, Joe Gyaakye Quayson withdrawn an application seeking to invoke the supervisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to interpret certain constitutional provisions.
The MP’s lawyer, Justin Pwavra Teriwajah had tried without success, to get the Cape Coast High Court hearing the election petition involving his client, to refer Article 94, Clause (2a) of the 1992 Constitution to the Supreme Court for interpretation.
A five-member Supreme Court presided over by Justice Yaw Apau, struck the application out after the MP’s lawyer had withdrawn it.
The judges explained to the lawyer that he should have formally applied to the High Court to refer the said constitutional provision to the Supreme Court for interpretation, and if he refused, there would have been grounds to refer the same to the Supreme Court.