Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Court Directs Counsel For BAWKU MP To File Address
April 28, 2012 (Page 3 Lead) The Fast Track High Court has directed counsel for the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central to file his address in his dual citizenship trial on or before May 11, 2012. The defence team was expected to submit its written address Friday but counsel for the MP, Mr Egbert Faibille, informed the court that he could not finish writing his address and for that reason had not submitted it as directed by the court. He, accordingly, prayed the court for extension of time. The court, presided over by Mr Justice Charles Quist, subsequently granted the defence team's request and adjourned the case to May 11, 2012. The MP was, on July 31, 2009, arraigned before the court, charged with nine counts relating to his nationality, perjury, forgery of passport, election fraud and deceiving public officers to be elected as an MP, but he was exonerated on six of those charges on July 8, 2010. He is currently facing three charges of false declaration of office or voting, perjury and deceiving a public officer. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has fixed May 23, 2012 as the date to rule on the submission of ‘no case’ in the civil matter brought against the MP. The court fixed the date after parties in the matter had filed their written addresses and informed it they did not have additional issues to file. A cattle farmer, Mr Sumaila Biebel, in March 2009, filed a suit at the High Court challenging the eligibility of the MP on the grounds that the MP held both British and Burkinabe passports and the High Court, in a default judgement on July 15, 2009, ordered the MP to vacate his seat. Dissatisfied with the High Court’s decision, counsel for the MP appealed against its decision, resulting in the Court of Appeal, in a unanimous decision, declaring that Mr Biebel should have gone by an electoral petition, since the matter bordered on electoral dispute. Under the law, all matters relating to electoral disputes are to be heard as electoral petitions and those petitions are to be heard 21 days after the results of the elections have been declared. Aggrieved by the Court of Appeal’s decision, Mr Biebel went to the Supreme Court, which decided to take evidence from him. He has since testified and has since been cross-examined by Mr Faibille. The defence filed a submission of ‘no case’ after Mr Biebel had completed his evidence-in-chief and had been cross-examined. According to the defence, Mr Biebel had failed to fully comply with the rules of evidence and for that reason there was no evidence before the Supreme Court. The defence said the standards for submitting exhibits had not been met by Mr Biebel and for that reason the court should strike out his case. Mr Biebel is also the complainant in the criminal action against the MP at the Fast Track High Court.