The Director of Legal Affairs of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Abraham Amaliba who was representing the Member of Parliament for Assin North in the parliamentary election petition pending at the Cape Coast High Court has withdrawn from the case.
The means the respondent, who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin North, Mr James Gyakye Quayson would have to look for a new counsel to represent him in the case.
The petitioner in the case, Michael Ankomah is seeking to annul the MP’s election.
The case has been adjourned to June 1, 2021.
It had gotten to the stage where the lawyers were to submit their written submissions for the court to fix a date for judgment.
Mr Abraham Amaliba informed the court of his decision to recuse himself from the case on Tuesday, May 18, 2021.
Mr Amaliba had earlier put in an objection, which sought to have the presiding judge, Justice Kwasi Boakye, recuse himself from the case.
He had accused Justice Boakye of being biased and having a predetermined judgment.
At last Wednesday’s hearing (May 12, 2021), Mr Amaliba who was the lead counsel for the MP contended that the judge must put the case on hold due to what he described as the likelihood of bias.
According to him, the presiding judge had already determined the case during the hearing of the injunction when he held that Mr Gyakye should have renounced his Canadian citizenship at the time of nominations and not during the actual voting.
Mr Amaliba said the judge had said something in relation to Article 94(2), which states that a person seeking to be an MP should be a Ghanaian.
He argued that Justice Boakye had asked him if he thought that the constitutional directive ought not to be obeyed by any person seeking to be MP even before filing to contest the election.
Mr Amaliba asserted that, that question by the judge was indicative that he had a predetermined judgment.
He therefore raised the objection but Justice Boakye, however, overruled the objection and said there had not been any instances of bias in the course of the case.
Mr Amaliba did not appeal the ruling nor appealed to the Chief Justice for the removal of the judge.
On Tuesday, May 19, when the case came up for hearing, he announced his decision to recuse himself from the case.
Mr Quayson would have to get a new counsel for the case to continue.
Mr Quayson polled 17,498 votes as against 14,793 by the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP’s) Ms Abena Durowaa Mensah, in the December 7, 2020 parliamentary election.
On December 30, 2020, a resident of Assin North, Mr Michael Ankomah-Nimfah, filed a parliamentary election petition at the Cape Coast High Court challenging the eligibility of Mr Quayson to be a Member of Parliament (MP).
He contended that the MP was not eligible on the basis that at the time he (Quayson) filed his nomination to contest 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).
Among other reliefs, the applicant wants the Cape Coast High Court to declare the nomination filed by Mr Quayson “illegal, void and of no legal effect”.
He also seeks a declaration that the decision by the EC to clear Mr Quayson to contest as a parliamentary candidate was “illegal, void and of no legal effect”.
Another relief the applicant seeks is an order restraining Mr Quayson from holding himself out as the MP-elect for Assin North and another order cancelling the parliamentary election that took place in Assin North on December 7, 2020.
On January 6, this year, Justice Boakye issued an interlocutory injunction against Mr Quayson restraining him from holding himself as the MP-elect until the final determination of the election petition.
This effectively barred the MP from being sworn in.
Mr Quayson showed up in Parliament the same day to vote in the election to select the Speaker of Parliament, and for him (Quayson) to be sworn into office as MP.
The Clerk of Parliament initially refused to allow him to take part in the election, but the NDC parliamentary leadership argued that Mr Quayson had not been served with the court order and was, therefore, not aware of any injunction restraining him from holding himself out as MP-elect.
After many arguments, the Clerk of Parliament allowed Mr Quayson to vote and also to be sworn into office, with a caution that he (Quayson) would bear the consequences of that action.
The Cape Coast High Court has overruled an objection by lawyers for the National Democratic Congress Member of Parliament for Assin North, Mr James Gyakye Quayson, seeking to have the presiding judge, Justice Kwasi Boakye, recuse himself from the case which seeks to annul the MP’s election.