On Wednesday, lawyers for Assin North MP James Gyakye Quayson effectively blocked the hearing of a case to decide whether he may continue to serve in Parliament.
The Supreme Court ordered the politician to file his defense in the case on March 8 after ruling that the MP had received adequate notice of the matter.
Previously, on February 22, the Supreme Court had ordered that court proceedings be brought to the MP’s attention through a publication in the Daily Graphic newspaper and posting on the walls of the Supreme Court in Accra, the High Court in Cape Coast, and the legislator’s residence.
This came when Michael Ankomah Nimfah, the private citizen who launched the complaint against the MP, told the court through his lawyers that all attempts to send the MP court documents had failed.
When Mr Quayson filed his candidacy documents to contest the Assin North Parliamentary elections in July 2021, a Cape Coast High Court decided that he owed allegiance to a country other than Ghana.
Since then, the MP has been battling to get the ruling overturned in the Court of Appeal.
Mr Nimfah’s lawyers want the MP barred from fulfilling Parliamentary duties while they await the Court of Appeal’s ruling.
On Tuesday, March 8, lawyers for the legislator, lead by Tsatsu Tsikata, informed the court that the substituted service order had not been fully followed.
He said that the order of the Judicial and the date for hearing were the only things included in the Daily Graphic’s publication, which did not include all court processes.
“On March 1, another notice came in the Daily Graphic, and once again, my Lord, it contained just the order of substituted service and hearing notice to the parties.” Mr Tsikata stated that the hearing notice put on us “flies in the face of your Lordship’s order.” Mr Nimfah’s lawyer, Frank Davies, told the court that the MP’s ignorance of the court’s decision regarding the Daily Graphic publishing does not suggest he is unaware of the legal system.
He went on to say that the order modes of service had been followed.
The Court then noticed that Mr Tsikata’s co-counsel, Justin Teriwajah, had been granted court processes.
The Registrar informed the Court that it delivered the required paperwork in response to a letter from Mr Teriwajah notifying the registry of his appointment as the legislator’s lawyer.
The Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, informed the Court that the lawyers’ letter and subsequent receipt of papers indicated that a sufficient case had been presented.
Mr Tsikata’s argument was dismissed by the Court in a majority ruling.
“The purpose of substituted service is to bring the pendency of a lawsuit to the attention of a party.” This Court does not anticipate that all processes will be made public. Mr Teriwajah’s letter speaks for itself once more. As a result, we reject the preliminary objection.
“On the subject of whether this case is ripe for hearing, this Court holds that the first accused was correctly served as of February 28, 2022, in a majority decision of 6-1 with Justice Kulendi dissenting.”
“The matter has been adjourned for a hearing on March 16, 2022.” “All processes must be filed by the first defendant on or by March 16,” President of the Panel Justice Dotse declared. Mr Tsikata notified the Court on Wednesday that he had filed two applications.
One petition asks the Court to halt the proceedings, while another requests that it reconsider its March 8 decision.
As a result, the Court postponed the hearing on these applications to March 29.
Jones Dotse, Agnes Dordzie, Nene Amegatcher, Mariama Owusu, Gertrude Torkonoo, Prof. Mensah Bonsu, and Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi heard the case.