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NDC accuses court registrar of manipulating process in Assin North case

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The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has accused the court registrar at the Cape Coast High Court, Ustaz Hamza, of manipulating court processes in during the hearing of the case against the lawmaker Joe Gyekye Quayson whose election has been cancelled.

The Court on Wednesday July 28 annulled the 2020 parliamentary election result.

A cost of 10, 000 has been awarded against the Electoral commission and 30 thousand against Joe Gyekye Quayson who until the cancellation of the result was the Assin North MP.

The presiding judge, Justice Kwasi Boakye said Mr. Quayson was “restrained from holding himself out as Member of Parliament-elect for the Assin North constituency within the Central Region of the Republic of Ghana and further presenting himself to be sworn in as Member of Parliament-elect as such until the final determination of the petition.”

One Michael Ankoma-Nimfah, a mason and resident of Assin Bereku filed a petition against over dual citizenship.

But a statement issued by National Communications Officer of the NDC, Sammy Gyamfi said “First and foremost, let me condemn in no uncertain terms, the shameful manipulation of court processes by the Registrar, Ustaz Hamza of the Cape Coast High Court and other judicial officers of the Court that frustrated and prevented the filing of a formal application by lawyers of the Assin North MP this morning, for the trial Court to refer the Constitutional questions that have arisen in the conduct of the case to the Supreme Court for determination before proceeding to give judgement

“It is reprehensible and appalling to say the least, that Judicial officers who are paid by the State and are supposed to exhibit independence, impartiality and professionalism in their work have compromised their integrity and lent themselves as pliant tools for the manipulation of judicial processes in favor of the ruling New Patriotic Party. The day of reckoning and accountability for those unprofessional and partisan judicial officers will surely come. “

Below is the full statement…

SAMMY GYAMFI WRITES ON THE ASSIN NORTH ELECTION PETITION JUDGEMENT BY THE CAPE COAST HIGH COURT:

I have taken notice of a decision by the Cape Coast High Court that has annulled the Assin North Parliamentary Election, held on December 7, 2020.

  1. First and foremost, let me condemn in no uncertain terms, the shameful manipulation of court processes by the Registrar, Ustaz Hamza of the Cape Coast High Court and other judicial officers of the Court that frustrated and prevented the filing of a formal application by lawyers of the Assin North MP this morning, for the trial Court to refer the Consitutional questions that have arisen in the conduct of the case to the Supreme Court for determination before proceeding to give judgement.

It is reprehensible and appalling to say the least, that Judicial officers who are paid by the State and are supposed to exhibit independence, impartiality and professionalism in their work have compromised their integrity and lent themselves as pliant tools for the manipulation of judicial processes in favor of the ruling New Patriotic Party. The day of reckoning and accountability for those unprofessional and partisan judicial officers will surely come.

  1. Let me make the point that the judgment of the trial Court is fraught with many errors of law which have ccasioned a gross miscarriage of justice to the people of Assin North. The decision by the trial judge that Hon. Quayson was not qualified to contest as MP in the December 2020 elections is contrary to section 20(1)(d) of the Representation of People’s Law, PNDC Law 284 and a true a proper interpretation of Article 94(2)(a) of the 1992 Constitution, both of which provides in effect that, a person must be qualified to contest as MP at THE TIME OF HIS ELECTION and at the time of him becoming an MP (that’s at the time of swearing in) respectively.
  2. It is the considered view of the NDC, that Hon. James Quayson was qualified to contest as MP in the December 2020 elections by virtue of the fact that he applied to renounce his Canadian citizenship before he filed his nominations to contest as MP in October 2020. He was actually issued a certificate of renunciation in November 2020 before the Parliamentary Election on December 7, 2020. He was therefore qualified to be MP at the time of his election as required by section 20(1)(d) of PNDC law 284 and at the time of his swearing-in, as prescribed under Arricle 94(2)(a) of the Constitution. The December 2020 Assin North Parliamentary election in question was therefore lawful and valid in our view and we think the trial judge has erred in annulling same.
  3. The claim by the trial judge that the Supreme Court has determined in the “Zanetor case” that a person must be qualified to be an MP at the time of the issuance of the Notice of Poll/opening of nominations by the Electoral Commission and that Hon. Quayson was not qualified to contest as MP because even though he had applied to renounce his Canadian citizenship, he had not been issued with a renunciation certificate as at the time of Nominations in October 2020, is palpably misconceived.

This is because the Zanetor case bordered Article 94(1) of the 1992 Constitution relative to the requirement for a person to be a Registered Voter before he can become an MP. The Assin North case on the other hand borders on Article 94(2)(a) of the Constitution which provides that a person shall not be qualified to be a Member of Parliament, “if he owes Allegiance to any country other than Ghana”. We therefore hold the view, that the two cases are materially distinguishable.

  1. Note that Section 20(1)(d) PNDC law 284, provides clearly that a person must be qualified to contest as MP at the time of the election relative to the issue of allegiance to a country other than Ghana. Also, note that Article 94(2)(a) was not interpreted by the Supreme Court in the Zanetor case which is the ratio the trial Judge appears to have applied in the Assin North case.
  2. More importantly, the whole Assin North Election Petition borders on the interpretation and enforcement of Article 94(2)(a) of the 1992 Constitution which falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. That Article has never been interpreted by the Supreme Court before. As we speak, an action has been filed by a citizen of Assin North, Mark Nti to invoke the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court for an interpretation of that same provision, Article 94(2)(a) of the 1992 Constitution. The judge should have therefore referred these constitutional questions that to the Supreme Court for determination as he is enjoined to do by law.
  3. It is instructive to note, that when Hon Quayson filed his nominations in October 2020, some NPP people within the Assin North constituency petitioned the District Office of the Electoral Commission for him to be disqualified on grounds that he is a citizen of, and owes Allegiance to Canada. The District EC officer then referred the matter to the Headquarters of the EC for determination. The EC demanded that Hon. Quayson provides or adduces his certificate of renunciation of his Canadian Citizenship which he did. It was on this basis that the petition was dismissed and Hon. Quayson cleared to contest.
  4. Let me put on record that the NDC is not afraid of any by-election. We are confident of victory in any by-Election if we get to that stage. All we want is for justice to be done. And we will stop at nothing to ensure that justice is done.
  5. Our lawyers will apply for a Stay of Execution of the orders of the trial judge and Appeal the flawed judgment ASAP. This travesty of justice will not be allowed to stand.
  6. The NDC is also determined to formally petition the Judicial Service for disciplinary action to be taken against the Registrar and other Judicial Officers of the Cape Coast High Court who engaged in those shameful gymnastics earlier this morning. Such partisan and unscrupulous persons are not fit to serve in that respectable independent arm of government.

Journalist and science writer for NewsAfrica24, the Atlantic, New Scientist, Aeon, Men’s Health, and many others. Author of The Intelligence Mafias, published by Stoughton (UK)/WW Norton (USA) and translated into six languages.

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‘We’ll soon know the truth as to whether Adwoa Safo was in parliament or not’ – Ablakwa

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It appears the Minority in Parliament is not giving up anytime soon on the matter of whether Dome Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo, was physically present in parliament on Tuesday November 30, 2021 or not.

Despite the MP and Minister clarifying in Parliament on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 on the floor of Parliament that she was the one in the chamber on Tuesday, and that she wasn’t impersonated by anyone as suggested, the NDC minority says that claim is full of inconsistencies.

It emerged on Tuesday, November 30, 2021 that Sarah Adwoa Safo has been absent from Parliament for some time now following an extension of her leave which was granted by the President.

The allegations are that she was impersonated during the proceedings on Tuesday because the Majority side needed the numbers at all cost to approve the government’s 2022 budget, which they did despite the disapproval by the minority side.

The controversy was deepened by the fact that videos and photos of a woman believed not to be the Dome Kwabenya MP in Parliament went viral on social media.

On Wednesday however, Sarah Adwoa Safo appeared in the House insisting that she was in the chamber the previous day and that, suspicions of impersonations must be ignored.

But NDC Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, says his side is not convinced.

“Very soon, we will put out all the details we know so far about the incident; which are very troubling. Very soon we will know and get to the bottom of the matter and Ghanaians will know the truth whether she was in the chamber or not. But safe to say, we are not convinced, so far the contradiction are one too many and it is important to state that , this should not be reduced to woman hood or how to dress as a woman at all. It is a needles distortion. That is not the issue at all”, Mr. Ablakwa said.

In the said viral video, the woman was seen wearing a nose mask, leaving the chamber right after the headcount which led to the approval of the budget statement.

However, on Wednesday, Madam Sarah Adwoa Safo appearing with a different hairstyle did not wear a nose mask.

Adwoa Safo dismissed Okudzeto Ablakwa’s claims, saying “I cannot force Hon. Okudzeto Ablakwa, who is my friend on the other side, to dress the way I want him to dress, that is an insult to womanhood so those making that noise should withdraw.”

Shortly after her message in Parliament, the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, indicated that his side will establish the truth of the matter.

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Job creation is our focus – Ofori-Atta

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Ofori-Atta will be presenting the 2022 budget today

This is in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and section 21 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921)

The budget will focus on solving the rising unemployment rate in the country

Finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta has disclosed that the 2022 budget will address the rising unemployment issue in the country.

He said the creation of jobs for the youth will be at the centre of the 2022 budget.

Also, the government will create an entrepreneurial environment for the youth of the country to venture into.

“I don’t think we can wait any longer, because the time is now on how to create an entrepreneurial state and deal with this issue once and all,” the finance minister is reported to have said by Joy Business.

“Certainly, the issues of youth and jobs will be the centre of this budget presentation,” he added.

He also said the budget will focus on improving the revenue situation in the country.

Ken Ofori-Atta will present the budget statement and economic policy of government in parliament today, November 17.

The presentation is in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and section 21 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921).

Meanwhile, economic analysts have asked Ghanaians to lower their expectations of freebies in the 2022 budget.

According to them, the nation is broke and needs to be revamped.

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Ken Ofori-Atta presents 2022 budget today

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Ken Ofori-Atta will be presenting the budget statement today

This is in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and Section 21 (3) of Act 921

The budget is described as the most anticipated budget in Ghana’s history

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta will on behalf of the President lay before Parliament, the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government today.

This is in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and Section 21 (3) of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016, (Act 921).

The budget, which is termed as the most anticipated in Ghana’s history is said to focus on expanding Ghana’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Finance, ahead of the budget reading in a statement hinted that the budget will among other things dwell on “creating a climate-friendly entrepreneurial state to address unemployment and import substitution.”

It also mentioned the “digitalisation of the economy, skills development and entrepreneurship as among the key issues in the presentation.”

Ken Ofori-Atta in a Joy News report monitored by GhanaWeb stated that the government of Ghana is committed to putting in place measures that will help deal with the unemployment situation in the country as well as recent challenges with the employment of fresh graduates for the public sector.

“I don’t think we can wait any longer, because the time is now on how to create an entrepreneurial state and deal with this issue once and all. Certainly, the issues of youth and jobs will be the centre of this budget presentation,” the Minister said.

Ken Ofori-Atta, however, noted that creating an entrepreneurial state has been a challenge for the government, and hopefully the 2022 budget to deal with this problem.

Some interest groups including financial and economic analysts as well as professional and trade organisations have expressed varied expectations on the budget.

Whereas some analysts have urged the Government not to introduce new taxes, the Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA) has, for instance, appealed to the government to implement policies that would reduce the cost of doing business in the country.

Other groups have also called for the widening of the tax net to enable the government to meet its revenue targets.

The Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) has also called on the government to review the payment of road tolls in the country.

Godfred Abulbire Adogma, the GPRTU general secretary, said Ghana should substitute paying of road tolls with a one-pesewa increment on the Energy Levy.

“When you come to the issue of road tolls, even if the government decides to raise the current amount of GHC1 to GHC2, that wouldn’t be enough.

“So, we have itemised all the reasons and the government could scrap all the toll booths and rather charge an amount per litre of fuel. That can be another measure to prevent revenue leakages,” Adogma was quoted in an Asaase radio report.

On his part, the Chief Executive of the Chamber of Pharmacy, Thony Ameka, in a Joy News report monitored by GhanaWeb, warned prices of medicines will increase if the government goes ahead to scrap the 50% discounts.

Eric Anti, Secretary of the Spare Parts Dealers Association at Abosey Okai in Accra, also expressed similar consequences.

But what is contained in the government 2022 budget?

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