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A member of the legal team of the National Demonstration Congress (NDC), Alex Segbefia, has applauded the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin for his decision not to declare the Assin North Parliamentary seat vacant.
The Speaker in a letter through the Parliamentary Service said he doesn’t plan to vacate the Assin North seat held by the NDC Parliamentary Candidate, James Quayson, whose victory in the 2020 election was annulled a High Court on July 28.
According to him, the issue has “not been concluded by the Courts with competent jurisdiction on the matter.”
In reaction to this, Mr, Segbefia on Eyewitness News maintained that the position taken by the Speaker is not only apt but also in accordance with the law.
“Absolutely, the Speaker’s letter did not come to me as a surprise at all when I read it. The Speaker of Parliament’s response is absolutely spot on. The court processes are not yet over. The appeal process must be gone through and the stay of execution may or may not be heard before.”
“Once there is an appeal, it is possible if the orders of the court are adhered to and subsequently, there was a by-election before the hearing of the case, and you have a new MP in place you will enter into the realm of absurdity if subsequently, you have a situation where the court of Appeal rules in favour of Mr. Quayson”, he said.
Mr. Quayson, after the initial ruling by the Cape Coast High Court, filed a suit at the Appeals Court on August 5 to suspend his removal as an elected MP.
He has also appealed the ruling which had to do with him holding dual citizenship status before contesting in the polls.
The letter from the Parliamentary Service however referenced article 117 of the 1992 Constitution with regards to the service of processes on the Speaker or a Member of Parliament.
“Mr. Speaker further noted in his formal communication on the matter on the 9th June 2021 that ‘when, Parliament is on recess and a Speaker, Member of Parliament or Clerk to Parliament is in the precincts of Parliament, there is a presumption that the Speaker, Member of Parliament or Clerk to Parliament is attending to the business of Parliament, and cannot be served a process within the precincts of Parliament.’”
The service said Mr. Bagbin wanted these provisions to be respected and complied with by Court Registrars and bailiffs “to ensure the mutual respect and balance of the Legislature and judiciary as Arms of government.”
Deputy Majority Leader and MP for Effutu, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, also speaking on Eyewitness News agreed with the Speaker’s position on the matter.