A Sekondi High Court yesterday ruled that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Jomoro in the Western Region, Dorcas Afo-Toffey, was validly elected during the 2020 parliamentary elections.
The court presided over by Justice Dr Richmond Osei- Hwere, therefore, dismissed the petition filed by Joshua Emuah Kofie challenging the nationality of Ms Toffey.
By the ruling, the court has given finality to the ‘legal battle,’ after about 23 months of hearings.
In his judgement, Justice Osei-Hwere said, Ms Afo-Toffey, the NDC MP, was validly elected by the people of Jomoro and qualified to be in parliament.
Justice Osei-Hwere noted that, the petitioner was not able to show enough evidence to support his claim that the NDC MP had dual citizenship at the time of filing her nominations to contest the Jomoro seat.
He said, Ms Afo-Toffey proved that she lost her Ivorian citizenship at the very time, she acquired her Ghanaian citizenship in accordance with Article 48 of the Ivorian Nationality Code.
The MP’s claim, the judge added, was corroborated by an Ivorian practicing lawyer, Dadje Ange Rodrigue, who testified in the case.
During cross-examination, the Ivorian lawyer told the court that, Article 48 of the Ivorian Citizenship Code, states that, any Ivorian shall lose his or her citizenship, in case that person voluntarily acquires a foreign citizenship.
He told the court that the 1st Respondent formally addressed the Minister of Justice of Cöte d’Ivoire that she was renouncing her Ivorian citizenship with immediate effect by a letter dated January 24, 2019.
Justice Osei- Hwere further pointed out that the petitioner could not challenge whether indeed the witness was a lawyer and could also not bring a witness from Cote d’Ivoire to dispute the testimony of the 1st Respondent’s Ivorian lawyer.
The court, therefore, indicated that, the evidence including what was stipulated in Article 48 of the Ivorian Nationality code, showed that, the MP was validly elected and dismissed the petition.
A resident of Nuba-Mpataba in the Jomoro District, Joshua Emuah Kofie, filed a writ at the Sekondi High Court to challenge the MP to produce evidence of her renounced dual citizenship in court.
The MP, he told the court, was not qualified to contest as the people’s representative in the country’s legislative assembly.
In his statement of claim, Kofie argued that the MP held an Ivorian and American citizenship at the time of filing the nomination forms between October 5 and 9, 2020, which violated the country’s 1992 Constitution.
He said, that the decision by the Electoral Commission, second respondent, to clear the MP, to contest the parliamentary elections in the Jomoro Constituency was also illegal.
The petitioner, therefore, prayed the court to declare the 1st respondent election as the MP for the Jomoro Constituency, null and void and of no effect whatsoever, since it violated the 1992 Constitution.
Mr Kofie prayed for an order of perpetual injunction to restrain the 1st respondent from holding herself out as MP for the Jomoro Constituency.
However, on March 9, 2021, the 1st respondent averred that she had never been an American citizen.
She, stated that she was an Ivorian citizen and had renounced same before she filed her nomination to contest the December 2020 parliamentary elections in the Jomoro Constituency