Assin North MP-elect’s lawyer cries foul over court injunction

Abraham-Amaliba Abraham-Amaliba

Lawyer for the Assin North Member of Parliament-elect, James Gyakye Quayson, suspects foul play by some forces, with regards to the injunction application against his client.

Mr. Quayson who was elected as MP for the area in the December 7, 2020 polls was taken to court for allegedly possessing Canadian citizenship while applying for a public office.

According to the petitioner, Mr Quayson's allegiance to both Ghana and Canada contravenes the provision of Article 94 (2) (a) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.

The petition was therefore to restrain him from being sworn in as MP for the area, one which was granted by a Cape Coast High Court, just hours before the dissolution of the 7th parliament.

Lamenting over the development in an interview with Joynews, Counsel for Mr. Quayson, Abraham Amaliba, gave a blow-by-blow account of how the entire proceeding occurred.

According to him, tough the initial statements by the sitting judge in his ruling appeared to be in favour of his client, things quickly turned around and the injunction was granted.

"When the judge entered and started reading his ruling, he started off by saying that the application for injunction raised some issues that must go for full trial and that he thinks that these are matters that must be gone into so that we can have some finality in it.

"Then he went on reading his ruling. At a point, I heard Gary Nimako and Yaw Oppong murmuring because apparently, the way he was reading the ruling, it was in our favour. Then came a point, he switched to talking about order 25 which is talking about if it is just and convenient for the court to grant the application, then the court will grant the application of the applicant," he added.

The lawyer further noted that "At that point, he said the applicant has a legal right and that allowing the MP-elect to be sworn in and stay in parliament will cause the applicant so much inconvenience, as a result, he was going to restrain him from going to parliament.

"The question one would want to ask is that, the applicant wasn't a contestant in the just-ended elections and so how was the applicant going to be inconvenienced," he said.

Regardless, he says there was still hope, and the next step for them was to file for a stay of execution and a notice of appeal. It is at this point he believes, that efforts to frustrate his team came in. He noted in his narration, how the filing clerk whose office the filing was to take place, was conspicuously missing from the court's premises and her office locked, though her working hours were officially not over.

Though his colleague had taken the lead about an hour earlier to secure the petition, Mr. Amaliba continued, he was told the said clerk had locked up her office and had travelled.

"My colleague lawyer who was with me; Adu Yeboah, immediately the judge entered, he also got up and went to the registry. For the period that the judge read his ruling (45 minutes), Adu Yeboah was at the registry so as soon as the judge was done, I went to him only for him to tell me that they haven't found the filing clerk and that she has locked the office and they are looking for her.

"While I was there, a call was placed by the registrar to find out where she was and that she had left her office and gone to Saltpond. So we kept hoping that she'll return or that they can open the place and assist us in filing our stay of execution but whilst we were there, physically to file our processes, the registrar and the judge had drawn up the injunction order to restrain the MP and sent it to Accra through electronic means, whilst we were standing there physically to be served," Mr Amaliba noted.

"….The rule of law has gone to the dogs. Why do you stop us, frustrate us? What else could that be? Because the judge was given a warrant to come and sit. If a whole judge is sitting, on what basis will a filing clerk leave and lock up. If the judge is sitting, who is the filing clerk to leave," an unhappy Amaliba quizzed.

Meanwhile, Lawyer Amaliba insists that Mr. Quayson filed a form for the renunciation of his Canadian Citizenship in 2019 but received his certificate of acknowledgement about a month to elections because of delays caused by COVID-19.