A stay of proceedings application filed by embattle Assin North MP James Gyakye Quayson at the Court of Appeal has been thrown out by a three-member bench presided over by Justice Henry Anthony Kwoffie
The court was of the view that the applicant could not demonstrate any exceptional circumstances to warrant a stay of the proceedings into his dual-nationality case.
The opposition legislator, who is facing five criminal charges, has Mr Tsatsu Tsikata as his lead counsel and had prayed the Court of Appeal to stay the criminal proceedings against him at the High Court.
The MP has been charged with “deceit of public officer” in contravention of section 251(b) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29).
According to the Attorney General, the MP, “on or about the 29th of July 2019 at the Passport Office, Accra, with intent to facilitate the obtaining of a Ghanaian passport, deceived the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by making a false statement that he did not have a dual citizenship, a statement which he did not have a good reason to believe to be true at the time of making it.”
He has also been charged with “forgery of passport or travel certificate” in contravention of section 15(1) (b) of the Passports and Travel Certificates Act, 1967 (NLCD 155).
The State asserts that Mr Quayson, on or about 26 July 2019, at the Passport Office, in Accra, made a false statement that he did not have dual citizenship for the purpose of procuring a passport – a statement the state says the MP knew to be untrue at the time of making it.
Additionally, Mr Quayson has been charged with “knowingly making a false statutory declaration,” in contravention of section 5 of the Statutory Declarations Act, 1971 (Act 389).”
The AG explained that the MP, at Assin Fosu, on or about 6 October 2020, made a statutory declaration indicating that he owed no country allegiance except Ghana, a statement which the MP knew was false in a material, particularly at the time of making it.
Further, the MP has been charged with “perjury”, in contravention of section 210(1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) and “false declaration for office”, in contravention of section 248 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29).
However, Mr Tsikata raised constitutional issues with three of the five criminal charges: Knowingly making a false statutory declaration (Count 3), perjury (Count 4) and false declaration for office (Count 5), which, in his view, required interpretation from the Supreme Court.
According to Mr Tsikata, “due process in a criminal charge requires an accused to be aware of the elements of the charge that has been brought against him and that is why the issues of Article 94 (2)(a) is key in the matter.”
However, Mr Richard Gyembiby, a Principal State Attorney argued against the application saying the applicant did not meet the threshold to merit such a concession.