The criminal trial of the Member of Parliament for Assin North, James Gyakye Quayson, has become a major issue of public discussion in Ghana.
Some notable Ghanaians including the Dormaahene, Osagyefo Oseadeeyo Agyemang Badu II, have called on the government to drop Gyakye Quayson’s criminal trial.
But proponents of the government including the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Members of Parliament (MPs) are saying that the case should not be dropped because the government has a case.
They argue that Quayson’s is similar to that of their former MP for Bawku Central, Adamu Dramani Sakande, who was jailed in July 2012 after being found guilty of perjury and forgery by the Accra high court.
The Ghanaians who are calling for the trial of Quayson to be dropped, including National Democratic Congress MPs argue the two cases are different.
In an interview with GhanaWeb on Wednesday, July 12, renowned legal practitioners Martin Kpebu explained the major differences between the Case of Adamu Sakande and Gyakye Quayson.
Below are the four major differences in the case of Adamu Sakande and Gyakye Quayson:
1. Identity – Adamu Sakande had three alias, Gyakye Quayson had one
Lawyer Kpebu explained that, unlike Adamu Sakande, Gyakye Quayson had only one identity. He said that Adamu Sakande had three identities, including “Adamu Daramani-Sakande, Adamu Daramani Sakande and Adamu Daramani”.
He said that the former MP for Bawku Central had all these names on different documents which shows an intent to deceive but Quayson had only one identity.
2. Number of Passports – Sankande travelled with 3 different passports from different countries after becoming an MP, Quayson 1:
Martin Kpebu said that for Adamu Sakande there was evidence of him using three different passports to travel when he was an MP, his Ghanaian passport, his British passport and his Burkinabe passport.
But Quayson uses only his Ghanaian passport since he renounced his Canadian citizenship.
3. Renunciation of citizenship – Sankande did not renounce his foreign citizenship, Quayson did:
The lawyer also said that Gyakye Quayson had renounced his Canadian citizenship but Adamu Sakande never did.
He said that Quayson was waiting for his renunciation certificate, which was delayed through no fault of his. But the former Bawku Central MP never renounced the two other citizenships he was holding.
4. Rule of the Electoral Commission of Ghana (EC):
Kpebu also stated that the EC cleared Gyakye Quayson when the issue of his dual nationality come up but the multiple citizenship of Sakande was not known to the EC.
The lawyer was surprised that the EC was not a party to the suit that got Quayson removed from parliament. He said that the commission should have come to defend its decision.
About the Gyakye Quayson case:
The Supreme Court of Ghana, on May 17, 2023, ordered the Parliament of Ghana to expunge the name of James Gyakye Quayson as a Member of Parliament (MP)
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 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 of Ghana announcing a by-election on May 27, 2023, to fill the seat.
But there is still one case the former MP has to face in court after the Office of the Attorney General accused him of deceiving public officers to acquire state documents.
On February 12, 2022, the State charged James Gyakye Quayson with five counts; deceit of a public officer, forgery of a passport, knowingly making a false statutory declaration, perjury, and false declaration.
About Adamu Dramani Sakande case:
In July 2012, a New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Adamu Dramani Sakande, was convicted by an Accra High Court after he was found guilty of perjury and forgery.
This was after he failed to denounce UK Citizenship before contesting for the Bawku seat.
He was found guilty of perjury and forgery and was jailed for two years concurrently on all counts.
A Bawku-based cattle dealer, Sumaila Bielbiel, challenged the status of the Member of Parliament (MP)
for Bawku Central, Adamu Daramani Sakande in the law-making body due to his dual citizenship.
The former MP was accused of registering as a voter when the voters’ register was opened and subsequently voting in the December 2008 general elections, when he was not entitled to do so.