fbpx

Reverse injunction: Quayson tells Supreme Court

BY: Justice Agbenorsi
James Gyakye Quayson
James Gyakye Quayson

The injuncted National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin North, James Gyakye Quayson, has urged the Supreme Court to reverse its decision barring him from performing his duties as an MP until the determination of a suit challenging the constitutionality of his election.

In his review application, Mr Quayson was of the contention that the apex court committed “errors of laws” that had occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice against the people of Assin North, as well as himself.

He averred that the original suit that gave rise to the grant of injunction was a parliamentary election petition disguised as a constitutional interpretation.

It is, therefore, his case that the Supreme Court is not clothed with the jurisdiction to entertain a parliamentary election petition.

“That, among other errors, as I am advised and verily believe, this court assumed jurisdiction over a suit involving declaring the results of a parliamentary election invalid when this court has previously decided on many occasions it does not have jurisdiction over such a suit,” he averred.

Background

In a 5-2 majority decision on April 13 this year, the highest court of the land upheld an injunction application by a constituent of Assin North, Mr Michael Ankomah-Nimfah, who won a judgment at the Cape Coast High Court nullifying Mr Quayson’s election on the basis that the MP held Canadian citizenship at the time he filed to contest the seat.

The Justices on the majority side were Jones Dotse, Mariama Owusu, Gertrude Torkornoo, Prof. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu and Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi.

Justices Agnes Dordzie and Nene Amegatcher dissented.

Reasons

In its ruling, the court was of the considered view that the High Court in Cape Coast had declared the election of Mr Quayson null and void and, therefore, allowing him to continue as an MP while the constitutional issue was yet to be determined “will be an indictment of the administration of justice”.

“There can be no justification for ignoring the submissions on the continued disregard of the orders of the High Court which have not been suspended or overturned,” it held.

Again, the court held that the whole country would suffer a greater hardship if Mr Quayson was allowed to continue to serve as MP and the court determined that his election violated the 1992 Constitution.

“This court will be failing in its exclusive mandate and duty to the Ghanaian people to uphold and defend the Constitution if it does not suspend, mitigate or abate an alleged constitutional illegality if the applicant were to succeed at the end of this suit,” it held.

The majority decision was authored by Justice Kulendi.

In the dissenting opinions, Justices Dordzie and Amegatcher were of the view that the Supreme Court was not the right forum for the applicant, and that all he needed to do was enforce the judgment of the High Court.

Legal battles

Mr Quayson polled 17,498 votes, as against 14,793 by the ruling New Patriotic Party's (NPP's) Ms Abena Durowaa Mensah in the December 7, 2020 parliamentary election.

However, since the election, he had been battling in court to maintain his parliamentary seat.

On December 30, 2020, Mr Ankomah-Nimfah filed a parliamentary election petition at the Cape Coast High Court challenging the eligibility of Mr Quayson to be an MP.

The court upheld the petition and on July 28, 2021, declared Mr Quayson’s election as void, on the basis that he owed allegiance to another country other than Ghana, contrary to Article 94(2) of the 1992 Constitution.