Ex-President John Mahama and a former Justice of the Appeal Court, Justice Isaac Douse, have heavily descended on the Supreme Court over the removal of James Gyakye Quayson from being the Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin North in the Central Region.
While, Justice Isaac Douse, insists the justices who presided over the case made a serious mistake by ruling that Gyakye Quayson was not eligible to contest in the 2023 elections, ex-President Mahama, in a post shared on Facebook, on June 16, 2023, said the MP’s removal is “one of the most brazen manipulations of our judicial system ever”.
The criticism comes as the perjury and forgery trial against the ousted MP presided over by Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzuh, will be heard on a day-to-day basis beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, June 20, 2023, the High Court has ruled.
Justice Ekue Yanzuh, had turned down a prayer by Quayson’s lawyer, Justin Terriwajjah which sought to have the trial continued after the Assin North by-election slated for June 27, 2023.
This was after hearing Attorney-General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, opposed the prayer, stressing that nobody had given Quayson a national assignment.
Mr Gyakye Quayson, in reaction described the handling of the criminal case against him by the High Court in Accra as an act of intimidation, adding “we all know that it is an executive influence on the process. The people of Assin North understand the circumstances and situation that I am going through”.
Speaking in an interview on CTV, on Friday, June 17, 2023, the retired jurist said that the ousted MP proved to the court that he did his part to renounce his citizenship which was sufficient.
“You write an examination and you are given a result that shows that you have passed but you are denied admission because you have not been given a certificate yet. So even though you have passed because you don’t have the certificate, you don’t get admission. This is what the ruling of the judges means. They (the judges) erred bad time,” he said in the Twi dialect.
Justice Douse also said that the criticism the Supreme Court is facing over its ruling is justified.
He added that when Ghanaians living abroad get high positions in foreign governments they are praised but when one is going home to help, s/he is faced with unnecessary impediments.
The Supreme Court of Ghana, on May 17, 2023, ordered the Parliament of Ghana to expunge the name of James Gyakye Quayson as an MP.
Retired Justice Jones Victor Dotse, Justice Nene Amegatcher, Justice Mariama Owusu, the now Chief Justice Gertrude Araba Torkornoo, Justice Prof. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, Justice Yonny Kulendi and Justice Barbara Ackah-Yensu, declared that Quayson was not qualified at the time he contested the election 2020 in the Michael Ankomah Nimfah vrs James Gyakye Quayson case.
According to the court, the ousted Assin North MP, failed to prove that he had renounced his Canadian citizenship, when he filed his nomination to contest the 2020 general elections.
Parliament subsequently declared the Assin North seat vacant, leading to the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana announcing a by-election on May 27, 2023, to fill the seat.
Ex-President Mahama in his criticism of the ruling of the Supreme Court’s removal of Mr Gyakye Quayson, added that the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) did all it can to remove the ousted MP just so it would have the numbers in parliament to pass their unpopular policies.
“This NPP administration has gone to indecent lengths to rob the people of Assin North of parliamentary representation. The reason? To gain an advantage in what has essentially been a hung Parliament.
“The James Quayson case will go down in the history of Ghanaian democracy as one of the most brazen manipulations of our judicial system ever,” he wrote.
The former president urged residents of Assin North not to be induced by the monies the government is throwing at them but they should stand on their feet and reaffirm their support for the former MP.
“I firmly believe and trust the people of Assin North to right the wrong done to them and Mr. Quayson by electing him once again as Member of Parliament for the constituency.
To the people of Assin North, I thank you for the continuous love and support you’ve shown Mr. Quayson and the NDC, despite the last-minute vote-buying gimmicks being employed by the NPP,” he added.
Counsel for Mr Quayson, argued that his client was embarking on a national duty in a bid to represent the people of Assin North in parliament, hence the need to continue the trial after the by-election for Quayson to have a leveled playing field in the campaign.
Opposing the application, the Attorney-General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, argued that considering the charges leveled against Quayson, he could be convicted and jailed if found guilty, hence the need to try the case expeditiously to bring clarity on Quayson’s status.
The Attorney General, therefore, prayed the court to hear the case on a day-to-day basis, this week.
Mr Terriwajjah, agreed to the trial being conducted on a day-to-day basis, but prayed for that to be done only after the by-election’ but his prayer was dismissed and the court fixed June 20, 21, and 23 for the trial to continue.
Mr Quayson, will have his lawyers to continue the cross-examination of the first prosecution witness.
He is currently faces charges of perjury and deceiving a public official.
These charges stem from allegations that he falsely denied owing allegiance to any country other than Ghana during the election process.
Speaking in an interview with Woezor TV, Mr Quayson, attributed his removal from office to the dynamics within the current Parliament but said the people of Assin North are solidly behind him.
“I think basically, it is an intimidation process because I haven’t seen any criminal trial where an accused person or suspect is arraigned before the court on a daily basis and so we all know that it is an executive influence on the process. The people of Assin North understand the circumstances and situation that I am going through and they also understand that the fight is not about me but about them.”
Quayson also addressed the ongoing road construction by the government ahead of the by-election and urged the residents of Assin North not to be swayed by any monetary offers in exchange for votes.
“It is the heaviest rainy season in the country and there is no road construction going on anywhere in the country but if that is how they operate, we welcome it.
“Assin North people are way beyond giving money for votes but I have already told them that any money they bring here, they should take it because they deserve it and it is money they should have used to develop the area that they have kept for themselves.”