The Returning Officer of the Electoral Commission for the Assin North constituency, Nana Kojo Amponsah has testified in the case in which James Gyakye Quayson is standing trial for criminal offenses including perjury.
Nana Amponsah as part of his evidence told the Criminal Division of the High Court in Accra that, he received the nomination form of James Quayson, the current Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin North Constituency.
The Returning Officer said, his duties include “publication of notice of the poll, ensuring that the nomination form of the candidates are received and the polling station and numbers of the proposers and seconders of the candidates are verified.”
Mr Amponsah, who was in Court as the 2nd Prosecution’s Witness also told the High Court presided over by Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzuh that, he received the nomination forms of Mr Quayson on October 8, 2020.
“I received the nomination form from the accused in person at 2:03pm and accepted same at 2:09pm on Thursday, 8th October 2020 and endorsed it to that effect,” the returning officer told the Criminal Division of the High Court.
Meanwhile, prior to the identification of the nomination form supposedly received from the accused in court, Lawyers of James Gyakye Quayson led by Tsatsu Tsikata objected to its identification as same was not the original copy.
But, the Court said, the document was only being identified and not to be tendered in evidence and the witness was allowed to identify the said photocopy version of the nomination form.
While being led by the Deputy Attorney General Alfred Tuah-Yeboah to give his evidence-in-chief to the Court, the witness said he knew James Quayson.
He told the Court that, the accused was the parliamentary aspirant for Assin North Constituency and Sometime in October 2020, the Electoral Commission issued online nomination forms to the accused and other aspiring members of Parliament.
EIB Network’s Legal Affairs Correspondent, Murtala Inusah is reporting that, the trial is being held in absentia (absence) of James Quayson who is said to be in Canada for medical evaluation but the Court said no records of his reports has been furnished to it.
The State on February 3, 2022 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 and Supreme Court later annulled it and a by- election held which Mr Quayson won.
With the criminal case 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 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.
Source: Kasapafmonline.com/Murtala Inusah