The Minority in Parliament put words into action when they boycotted sitting in Parliament yesterday in solidarity with three members of the caucus standing trial at the High Court.
The MPs on trail are the Minority Leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson; the Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin North, James Gyakye Quayson, and the MP for Asutifi South, Collins Dauda.
The three were in court yesterday in respect of the ongoing prosecutions by the Attorney-General, Godfred Yeboah Dame.
The Minority Leader issued the notice last Tuesday during the swearing-in of Mr Quayson after reclaiming the seat he was accused of winning illegally.
The Supreme Court nullified Mr Quayson’s election as MP for Assin North for holding both a Canadian and Ghanaian citizenship when he filed his nomination to contest the election in 2020.
He is now on trial for alleged perjury and forgery, with his trial being heard on a daily basis.
In the case of the Minority Leader, the High Court has summoned three witnesses in the trial in which he (Dr Forson), a former Deputy Minister of Finance, and two others have been accused of causing financial loss of €2.37 million to the state in a deal to purchase 200 ambulances.
Mr Dauda, a former Works and Housing Minister, and four others are also facing trial of 70 counts of causing financial loss to the state in relation to the Saglemi Affordable Housing project.
“The Minority stands united with our colleagues, and as such will not be able to honour the business of the house today.”
“This is the beginning of a series of actions that the caucus will be embarking on to end the ongoing prosecution of Dr Forson, Mr Quayson and Alhaji Dauda,” the Minority Chief Whip, Kwame Governs Agbodza, said in a statement.
Quayson in court
Meanwhile, the High Court in Accra will on Tuesday, July 11, 2023, make a determination on whether or not to put the perjury and forgery trial of Mr Quayson on hold until the Court of Appeal determines an application challenging the trial court’s decision to hear the trial on a daily basis.
This was after the court, presided over by Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzuh, had considered arguments from both the defence counsel and the prosecution on the application for stay of proceedings.
Moving an application filed by the MP to put the trial on hold until the Court of Appeal determines his application, his counsel, Tsatsu Tsikata, emphasised that remarks by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, were prejudicial and violated the right of the accused person to a fair trial.
In the application for stay of proceedings, Mr Quayson is contending that the trial must be halted pending the appeal in the interest of justice.
It is his case that the ruling by the court to hear the case on a daily basis was what emboldened President Akufo-Addo to make comments that his team had considered prejudicial to the case.
“That at the campaign rally for the candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the President made many prejudicial remarks, including some to the effect that the voters in Assin North Constituency should not vote for a candidate who could end up in prison,” the application for stay of proceedings stated.
Mr Tsikata explained that continuing the daily trial while his appeal was still pending would prejudice the accused person’s right to a fair trial.
He added that if the application for stay was not granted, it would simply convey the impression of a predetermined outcome of the trial.
“It is an exceptional circumstance when it could lead to an innocent person presumed innocent being unjustly tried,” he added.
But the Attorney-General, Mr Dame, opposed the application on grounds that when lawyers for Quayson filed for the variation of the court orders on the day-to-day hearing of the case, their application was in reference to the day-to-day hearing of the case before the by-election.
“This application is a bundle of confusion grounded on distortion, and must be rejected.
I pray for same to be dismissed,” Mr Dame said.
The presiding judge, Justice Yanzuh, subsequently fixed July 11, 2023, for ruling to be delivered on the application for stay of proceedings.
Mr Quayson is facing charges of forgery and perjury in relation to alleged offences in the run-up to the 2020 Assin North parliamentary election.
He has pleaded not guilty to five counts of forgery of passport or travel certificate, knowingly making a false statutory declaration, perjury and false declaration for office.