File your defence by March 16 – Supreme Court orders Assin North MP
The Supreme Court has ordered Assin North MP, James Gyakye Quayson, to file his defence in a case seeking to stop him from performing Parliamentary duties.
This was after the Court ruled that the legislator is well aware of the case.
The Apex Court on February 22, 2022, 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 that all attempts to give the MP court documents have proved futile.
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 Tuesday, 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 date for hearing.
“Another, notice appeared in the Daily Graphic of the first of March and again, my Lord, it had only the order of substituted service and hearing notice to the parties. The hearing notice served on us flies in the face of the order that your Lordship made,” Mr. Tsikata said.
Lawyer for Mr. Nimfah, Frank Davies told the Court that 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 other modes of service had been complied with.
The Court then noticed that court processes had been given to Mr. Tsikata’s co-counsel, Justin Teriwajah.
The Court was informed by its Registrar, Michael Anyetei, that the necessary documents had been given to the legislator’s legal team because of a letter the Registry received from Mr. Justin Teriwajah.
This letter informed the Registry of his appointment as a lawyer for the legislator. The Registry, therefore, gave all documents to the lawyer.
Attorney-General Godfred Yeboah Dame told the Court that the said letter written by the lawyers and subsequent receipt of documents, meant sufficient information on 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 dissenting, holds that the first accused was duly served as of February 28, 2022. The Court is adjourned to 16 March 2022 for a hearing.
The First defendant is to file all processes on or before March 16.”, President of the Panel, Justice Dotse, ruled.
The case was heard by Justices Jones Dotse, Agnes Dordzie, Nene Amegatcher, Mariama Owusu, GertrudeTorkonoo, Prof. Mensah Bonsu and Emanuel Kulendi.
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