A High Court in Accra granted a ¢100,000 bail with one surety to opposition MP for Assin North in Ghana’s Central Region.
The court also ordered Gyakye Quayson to deposit his passport with the registrar of the court.
This was after James Gyakye Quayson had pleaded not guilty to five counts of forgery of passport or travel certificate, knowingly making a false statutory declaration, perjury and false declaration for office.
Tsatsu Tsikata, a defense lawyer earlier prayed the court to grant his client a self-recognizance bail, but the court refused based on the difficulties a bailiff had in serving the MP with the court process.
The case has since been adjourned to 15 March 2022.
The first is “deceit of a public officer”, contrary to Section 251(b) of the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29).
On this charge, the Attorney General declares that Quayson, “on or about 29 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 dual citizenship, a statement which he did not have a good reason to believe to be true at the time of making it”.
The second charge is “forgery of passport or travel certificate”, contrary to Section 15(1)(b) of the Passports and Travel Certificates Act 1967 (NLCD 155).
The state explains that James Gyakye Quayson, on or about 26 July 2019 at the Passport Office in Accra, made a false statement that he did not hold dual citizenship, for the purposes of procuring a Ghanaian passport, a statement he knew to be untrue at the time of making it, the charge sheet says.
Knowingly making a false statutory declaration, contrary to Section 5 of the Statutory Declarations Act 1971 (Act 389), is the third charge against the MP.
The Attorney General added that James Gyakye Quayson, on or about 6 October 2020 at Assin Fosu, made a statutory declaration that he did not owe allegiance to any country other than Ghana, a statement which he knew to be false in a material particular at the time of making it.
The fourth charge is “perjury”, contrary to Section 210(1) of the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29), and the last is “false declaration for office, also contrary to Section 248 of the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29)”.
On the fourth charge, the Attorney General states that Quayson, on or about 6 October 2020 at Assin Fosu, made a false statement on oath that he did not owe allegiance to any country other than Ghana.
And with the fifth charge, the state claims that on or about 8 October 2020 at the Electoral Commission office in Accra, James Gyakye Quayson knowingly used a declaration that he did not owe allegiance to any country other than Ghana for the purposes of obtaining a public office as a member of Parliament, a statement he knew to be material to obtaining that office.
Service and adjournment
On Thursday (3 February) state prosecutors told the high court that they have not been able to serve the MP.
The prosecutors asked the court to adjourn sitting to allow the state to serve the accused.
The court adjourned sitting to Wednesday 9 February 2022 for the case to take its natural course.
The Cape Coast high court restrained James Gyakye Quayson from holding himself as the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Assin North.
On Wednesday 28 July 2021, Justice Kwasi Boakye also ordered for fresh parliamentary elections to be held in the constituency. This followed a parliamentary election petition brought to the Cape Coast high court by Michael Ankomah-Nimfah, seeking to annul the MP’s election.
Quayson polled 17,498 votes against 14,793 by the New Patriotic Party’s Abena Durowaa Mensah in the 7 December 2020 parliamentary election.
On 30 December 2020, a resident of Assin North, Michael Ankomah-Nimfah, filed a parliamentary election petition at the Cape Coast high court challenging Quayson’s eligibility to be an MP.
He argued that the MP was not eligible because at the time he (Quayson) filed his nomination to stand as a parliamentary candidate, he was still a citizen of Canada. Such an act, he argued, was against the express provision of Article 94 (2)(a) of the 1992 constitution and Section 9(2) of the Representation of the People Act 1992 (PNDCL 284).
Quayson has since been fighting under the law to set this aside, with the matter currently pending at the Court of Appeal.
Michael Ankomah Nimfah, the resident of the constituency who initiated the action against the MP at the high court, has sought the Supreme Court’s intervention to stop Quayson from performing parliamentary duties. That matter remains pending, as court officials have been unable to serve the MP with the court processes.