Lawyers for Assin North Member of Parliament (MP), James Gyakye Quayson, on Wednesday successfully blocked the hearing of a case to determine if he can continue performing Parliamentary duties.
On March 8, the Supreme Court ordered the legislator to file his defence in the case after it had ruled that the MP has been sufficiently given notice of the case against the legislator.
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 have 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 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 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 that the said letter written by the lawyers and subsequent receipt of documents meant sufficient 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 at 28 February 2022. The cause is adjourned to March 16, 2022, for a hearing. The First defendant is to file all processes on or before March 16,” President of the Panel Justice Dotse ruled.
On Wednesday, Mr Tsikata 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.
The case was heard by Justices Jones Dotse, Agnes Dordzie, Nene Amegatcher, Mariama Owusu, GertrudeTorkonoo, Prof. Mensah Bonsu and Emanuel Kulendi.