It was an interesting spectacle in court on Thursday, July 6, 2023, when veteran lawyer and counsel for Assin North Member of Parliament (MP), Tsatsu Tsikata moved his application for a stay of proceedings of the ongoing criminal trial of the MP (Gyakye Quayson).
Tsatsu Tsikata in his affidavit in support of his application, had stated as one of the grounds for the stay of proceedings, that what MP for Assin North, James Gyakye Quayson was going through was similar to what, Tsatsu Tsikata had experienced in 2008 which led to his conviction by an Accra High Court.
He further submitted that the current Attorney-General’s conduct was similar to that of President Nana Akufo-Addo when he was the Attorney General of Ghana from 2001 to 2003.
Tsatsu Tsikata then insinuated and threatened the current Attorney General that he would be prosecuted in the same measure in the future, in the event that power changes hands at the polls during the 2024 elections or at some time in the future.
Tsatsu Tsikata, therefore, submitted that, what he was applying to the High Court for, was for the benefit of not only his client but people like Godfred Dame and other officials of the NPP in the future.
Godfred Dame’s response
When the Attorney-General, Godfred Dame rose to his feet to oppose Mr. Tsikata’s motion, he immediately addressed Mr. Tsikata’s threats and insinuations in a manner which drew a chorus of laughter and smiles around the courtroom.
AG Godfred Dame stated “Indeed, I sympathize with your (Mr. Tsikata’s) experience when you found yourself in jail in 2008. Listening to my learned friend, I can tell that he is still reeling under the shock of his conviction in 2003. But whilst sympathizing with you, I can assure you that I will not conduct myself in a way that will land me in prison, like you did.”
Godfred Dame then proceeded to ask the court in a rhetorical manner, of what relevance was Mr Tsikata’s experience in 2008, 15 years before 2023, to this trial currently pending before the court? “It is again an attempt to divert the court’s attention to irrelevant matters and must not be tolerated.” Mr Dame stated.
The trial judge Mary Yanzu will rule on the application for stay of proceedings on Tuesday, July 11, 2023.
James Gyakye Quayson is standing trial for perjury, forgery and other counts of criminal nature pertaining to his Ghanaian passport and eligibility to contest in the 2020 general elections.
The Republic’s case against Gyakye Quayson is that he lied on his passport application form filled on July 26th that he was not a dual citizen and that he held only Ghanaian citizenship.
This was in spite of the fact that he was yet to renounce his Canadian citizenship issued on 30th October 2016. Further to this infraction against the law, Gyakye Quayson also submitted forms to the electoral commission declaring that he only held allegiance to the Republic of Ghana. This was despite knowing that the application to renounce his Canadian citizenship had not yet been granted by the time he filed his eligibility papers with the electoral commission on or between the 5th and 9th of October 2020.
Richard Takyi, a resident of Yamoransa in the Central Region prayed a High Court in Cape Coast to cancel Hon. Gyakye Quayson’s electoral victory because he was not eligible to have taken part in the elections.
The matter travelled all the way to the Supreme Court which upheld the ruling of the Cape Coast court. The highest court of the land subsequently ordered Gyakye Quayson to be removed from Parliament occasioning a by-election.
The National Democratic Congress in spite of the criminal prosecution he faces repeated him as the candidate for the election which he won.
He has since been re-sworn in as the Member of Parliament for Assin North while his trial proceeds.