Supreme Court throws out application of Assin North MP: ‘It lacks merit’
The Supreme Court has in a unanimous decision dismissed an application filed by Assin North MP, James Gyakye Quayson.
This was a review application that urged the Apex court to set aside its March 8, ruling that ordered the legislator to file his defence in a case seeking to stop him from performing parliamentary duties.
The Court on March 8 noted that the case against the MP has been sufficiently brought to his attention.
The Apex Court on February 22 directed that court processes be brought to the attention of the Mp through a publication in the Daily Graphic newspaper and posting on the wall of the Supreme Court in Accra, the High Court in Cape Coast and the residence of the MP.
This was after the private citizen who filed the case against the MP, Michael Ankomah Nimfah through his lawyers told the court all attempts to give the MP court documents had proved unsuccessful.
A Cape Coast High Court in July 2021 annulled the Assin North Parliamentary elections when it ruled that Mr Quayson owed allegiance to another country other than Ghana at the time of filing his nomination forms to contest the polls.
The MP has since been fighting to set this aside at the Court of Appeal.
Lawyers for Mr Nimfah want the Mp restrained from performing Parliamentary duties while they await the decision of the Court of Appeal.
In Court on March 8, lawyers for the Mp led by Tsatsu Tsikata informed the court that its order for substituted service had not been fully complied with.
He said the publication in the Daily Graphic did not contain all court processes but simply had the order of the court and the date for hearing.
Lawyer for Mr Nimfah, Frank Davies told the court a misunderstanding of its order in respect of the Daily Graphic Publication does not mean the Mp is not aware of court processes.
He explained that the order modes of service had been complied with.
The court then took notice of the fact that court processes had been given to Mr. Tsikata’s Co-Counsel Justin Teriwajah.
The Court was informed by the Registrar that it provided the necessary documents because of a letter it received from Mr. Teriwajah informing the registry of his appointment as the lawyer for the legislator.
Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame told the court the said letter written by the lawyers and subsequent receipt of documents meant sufficient notice of the case had been given.
The Court by a unanimous decision dismissed the objection raised by Mr. Tsikata.
“The essence of substituted service is to bring to the attention of a party of the pendency of the suit. This court does not expect all processes to be published. Again the letter by Mr. Teriwajah speaks for itself. We, therefore, dismiss the preliminary objection.
On the issue of whether this case is ripe for hearing this court in a majority decision of 6-1 with Justice Kulendi desenting holds that the first accused was duly served as of 28 February 2022. The cause is adjourned to 16 March 2022 for hearing. The First defendant is to file all processes on or before March 16.”, President of the Panel Justice Dotse ruled.
Mr. Tsikata on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, informed the court that he had filed two applications. One seeks to urge the court to halt proceedings while another is asking that it reviews its March 8 ruling. The court, therefore, adjourned proceedings to deal with these applications on March 29.
On Tuesday, March 29, Mr. Tsikata informed the court of a new application he had filed. This was urging the court to permit him to file additional documents in support of his review motion. This was granted by the Court. He then made another request asking the court for time to study documents that had been filed in Opposition to his review application. This was not granted by the court.
He then moved his review application. He urged the court to set aside its March 8 ruling saying it sinned against its time-tested rulings on similar matters. The lawyer for Michael Ankomah Nimfah, Frank Davies opposed the application. He insisted Mr. Tsikata had failed to show how the decision of the court resulted in a miscarriage of justice to merit a review of that decision. The Court adjourned proceedings on April 5 to deliver its ruling.
Justice Jones Dotse on Tuesday, April 5 read the ruling of the court.
“The application lacks merit and is accordingly dismissed”, Justice Dotse stated.
He indicated that the detailed reasons for the court’s position will be filed in the Court’s registry.
The case is being heard by Justices Jones Dotse, Agnes Dordzie, Nene Amegatcher, Prof Ashie Kotey, Mariama Owusu, Gertrude Torkonoo, Clemence Honyenuga, Prof Henrietta Mensah Bonsu and Emmanuel Y. Kulendi. Prof Ashie Kotey and Justice Clemence Honyenuga are the two judges that joined the original 7 member panel for this review.