The National Democratic Congress Member of Parliament for Assin North Constituency has pleaded not guilty to five criminal charges.
James Gyakye Quayson, denied the charges of deceit of the Public officer, forgery of passport or travel certificates, knowingly making a false statutory declaration, perjury and false declaration for office when he first appeared after the court had issued a criminal summons against him on February 9.
In court on Tuesday, February 15, 2022, the MP denied any wrongdoing to all five charges levelled against him.
He was admitted to bail in the sum of GHc100, 000 bail with a surety to be justified. He is also to deposit his passport at the registrar of the court.
EIB Network’s Court Correspondent Murtala Inusah reports that the court had earlier turned down a request from his lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata who had argued that, a constitutional provision which arose in the 3, 4 and 5 charges ought to be referred to the Supreme Court for interpretation.
Alfred Tuah-Yeboah, a Deputy Attorney General argued that, though the prosecution does not oppose the grant of bail, “it is our fervent prayer that he is not granted self-recognisance bail in view of what has happened.
“We also suggest that he deposit his passport to the registrar of the Honourable court. We proposed reasonable conditions of two public servants as sureties to ensure the accused avail himself,” he told the court.
Mr Tsikata, counsel for the accused drew the court attention to the police granting him self-recognisance bail after pending down his statement.
He said self recognisance bail is the appropriate bail condition for the accused person.
The court has ordered the prosecution to file all Disclosures, witness statements it intends to rely on the case for three weeks and have the same served on the accused.
Political bigwigs including Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, Okudzeto Ablakwa, Alfred Okoe Vanderpujei, Felix Ofosu Kwakye, Betty Mould Iddrisu, Cassiel Ato Forson all present for the NDC.
While Peter Mac Manu, the campaign manager for NPP, Evans Nimako the director of elections of the NPP and a host of others were also known faces from the NPP.
The case has been adjourned to March 15, 2022.
The State on February 3, charged James Gyakye Quayson, the MP for Assin North with five counts including perjury.
Mr Quayson, who contested the Parliamentary seat of the Assin North Constituency and won on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress, has had his seat declared vacant by the Cape Coast High Court of his Canadian nationality switch. But he has since filed an appeal.
With the criminal suit filed on behalf of the Attorney General by the Director of Public Prosecution Mrs Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, Mr Quayson is facing five criminal charges.
The charges are Deceit of a Public officer, forgery of passport or travel certificates, knowingly making a false statutory declaration, perjury and false declaration for office.
According to the brief facts of the case, the accused person James Gyakye Quayson is a Member of Parliament for Assin North Constituency.
It said, the complainant, Richard Takyi-Mensah is a teacher and a resident of Yamoransa in the Central Region of Ghana.
According to the prosecution, on July 26, 2019, the accused person signed an application form for a Republic of Ghana passport.
It said, in the application form, he indicated that he is a Ghanaian and does not have dual citizenship.
The prosecution stated that the accused at the time held Canadian citizenship issued on October 30, 2016, but failed to declare the same on the application form.
The prosecution added that the passport application of the accused person was vetted on July 29, 2019.
“Based on this false information together with the other information provided by the accused person on the passport application form, he was issued with a Ghanaian passport, number G2538667 on 2nd August 2019,” the brief facts stated.
The brief facts stated that “before the 2020 General Elections of Ghana was conducted on 7th December 2020, nominations were opened between the 5th and the 9th of October 2020.
“The accused person picked up nomination forms to contest for the position of Member of Parliament for Assin North Constituency.
“The accused person at the time was a Ghanaian and a Canadian citizen, making him a dual citizenship holder” the brief facts stated.
“He was therefore disqualified under Article 94(2)(a) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana to be a Member of Parliament.
“In part IV of the nomination forms of the Electoral Commission of Ghana, the accused person used a statutory declaration which he had sworn to on 6th October 2020 before the District Court Registrar at Assin Fosu stating that he does not owe allegiance to any country other than Ghana,” it stated.
“The accused person further went ahead to file his nomination forms on 8th October 2020 with the false information in the statutory declaration.
“Based on this false information together with other information provided by the accused person in the nomination forms, his nomination was accepted by the Electoral Commission,” the prosecution noted.
Victory in election 2020
He contested for the position and subsequently won the seat. The accused person was issued a Certificate of Renunciation of his Canadian citizenship dated 26th November 2020, about forty-eight days after he had made the false statutory declaration and filed his nomination forms.
“On January 14, 2021, the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department received a petition dated January 11, 2021, from the complainant in which the complainant reported these actions of the accused, leading to investigations against him.
In his cautioned statement to the police, the accused person claimed that at the material time, he honestly believed that he did not owe allegiance to any other country.
The accused person was subsequently charged with the offences in the charge sheet.
It is based on these facts that the accused person, James Gyakye Quayson has been arraigned for trial.