The Parliament of Ghana has made a significant announcement, declaring the seat of the Assin North Constituency vacant. This decision follows an order from the Supreme Court of Ghana, which instructed the House to remove the name of James Gyakye Quayson, the Member of Parliament for the constituency, from its records. In response to this directive, the Clerk of the House wrote a letter to the Electoral Commission of Ghana (EC) to inform them of the vacancy.
The letter from the Clerk of Parliament, L. Cyril Kwabena Oteng Nsiah, stated, “In the exercise of the power conferred and the duty imposed on the Clerk to Parliament by section 3 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana (Amendment) Act, 1996 (Act 527), I do hereby formally notify you of the occurrence of a vacancy in the Assin North Constituency necessitated by the Judgement of the Supreme Court dated 17 May 2023 vide Writ No. J1/11/2022 issued in respect of James Gyakye Quayson in the case of Michael Ankomah Nimfah vrs James Gyakye Quayson. The Electoral Commission of Ghana and The Attorney-General are requested to take appropriate consequential action as required by law.”
The background leading to this declaration is rooted in a court case involving James Gyakye Quayson. A seven-member panel of the Supreme Court made the ruling, which forbids Mr. Quayson from holding himself as a Member of Parliament. The court cited various charges against him, including deceit of a public officer, forgery of a passport, knowingly making a false statutory declaration, perjury, and false declaration.
The justices who presided over the case were Justice Jones Victor Dotse, Justice Nene Amegatcher, Justice Mariama Owusu, Gertrude Araba Torkornoo, Justice Prof. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, Justice Yonny Kulendi, and Justice Barbara Ackah-Yensu. They unanimously concluded that Mr. Quayson was ineligible to contest the 2020 election.
The State initially charged James Gyakye Quayson with five counts, including deceit of a public officer, forgery of a passport, knowingly making a false statutory declaration, perjury, and false declaration on February 12, 2022. Throughout the trial, Mr. Quayson’s legal team, led by Lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata, raised objections regarding the competency of the Prosecution’s First Witness and the admissibility of his witness statements. However, the trial judge, Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzu, overruled these objections, deeming the witness competent and admitting the statements and paragraphs.
In response to the High Court’s ruling, Mr. Quayson and his lawyers approached the Supreme Court, seeking to overturn the decision of the trial judge and obtain an order of prohibition against her.
With the Supreme Court’s judgment declaring the Assin North Constituency seat vacant, the Electoral Commission of Ghana and the Attorney-General have been requested to take appropriate actions in accordance with the law.
This development has significant implications for the representation of the Assin North Constituency in Ghana’s Parliament. It highlights the importance of upholding the integrity and eligibility requirements for public office and serves as a reminder of the judiciary’s role in ensuring the adherence to legal standards in the country’s political processes.