Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Court Adjourns Bawku MP Dual Citizenship Trial

July 7, 2012 (Page 3 Lead) The Accra Fast Track High Court Friday adjourned the dual citizenship trial of the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Adamu Dramani Sakande, to July 13, 2012. The court adjourned it to enable the defence team to study an address filed by the prosecution in the case. It is expected to fix a date for judgement on the next adjourned date. The prosecution called four witnesses, while the MP called a witness to testify on his behalf. He also testified, denied any wrongdoing and produced documents to prove his claim that he had denounced his British citizenship. At the court’s sitting in Accra Friday, a Principal State Attorney, Mr Rexford Wiredu, announced that the prosecution had filed its response to the defence team’s address, but counsel for the MP, Mr Egbert Faibille, prayed the court to give the defence a week to study the prosecution’s address. He also indicated the preparedness of the defence to file a response to the prosecution’s address should the need arise. The court, presided over by Mr Justice Charles Quist, obliged and directed the defence to file its response before the next hearing. The court had, on May 11, 2012, given the prosecution two weeks to file its address following the submission of a written address on behalf of Sakande by his lawyer. 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. He was, however, 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. The Supreme Court, on May 23, 2012, dismissed the MP’s submission of ‘no case’ in a civil matter brought against him by a cattle farmer. He is expected to open his defence on July 16, 2012. The 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 it, 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. 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 been cross-examined by Mr Faibille. The defence filed a submission of ‘no case’ after Mr Biebel had completed his evidence-in-chief and 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. But the Supreme Court held otherwise. Mr Biebel is also the complainant in the criminal action against the MP at the Fast Track High Court.

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