Tuesday, July 31, 2012

History of Bawku Central MP's trial ... And reliefs sought by Sumaila Biebel

July 28, 2012 (Page 6) SCORES of sympathisers of the Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Adamu Daramani Sakande, were today grief stricken when the MP was jailed two years for perjury. He was found guilty and convicted on three counts of false declaration of office or voting, perjury and deceiving a public officer. A cattle farmer, 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. The following are chronology of events: July 15, 2009 – The Accra Fast Track High Court presided over by Mr Justice S. K. Asiedu ordered the MP to vacate his seat. It also declared that the MP owed allegiance to Britain other than Ghana and for that reason he could not hold a position as MP in Ghana. July 22 – Fast Track High Court dismissed a motion filed by MP, which prayed the court to stay execution of its order asking him to vacate his seat because he holds a dual nationality. According to the court, the MP had had ample time to file his defence in a suit challenging his dual citizenship, adding that the MP failed to convince the court on why he should be granted leave to file his defence. The MP appealed the High Court’s decision. Sakande 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 was exonerated on six of those charges on July 8, 2010. March 18, 2010– Court of Appeal sets aside the Fast Track High Court’s order to the MP to vacate his seat. The court held that 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. In this particular case, the court held that the complainant had failed to meet that requirement. Aggrieved by the Court of Appeal’s decision, Mr Biebel went to the Supreme Court, which decided to take evidence from him. May 23, 2012- Supreme Court dismisses MP’s submission of no case after Biebel had testified and tendered in evidence documents to prove his claim that the MP was not a Ghanaian. The court ordered the MP to open his defence. In the substantive suit, Mr Biebel, prayed the court to declare that the MP should be ordered to vacate his seat because he was a British national and for that matter did not qualify to sit as an MP. He filed a complaint with the police challenging the nationality of the MP while the civil suit progressed. March 2, 2012, MP closed his defence and was ordered by the court to file his address. May 25, 2012 – Fast Track High Court directs prosecution to file address. July 13, 2012 – Fast Track High Court fixes date for judgment. July 27, 2012 – The criminal case is brought to a close and the MP was found guilty and convicted on all three counts of perjury, deceiving a public officer and false declaration of office or voting. The MP was defended by Yonny Kulendi and Egbert Faibille while a Principal State Attorney, Mr Anthony Rexford Wiredu prosecuted the case.

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