Ghanaian MP jailed two years over dual citizenship

Adamu Daramani Sakande

An Accra Fast Track High Court on Friday sentenced Adamu Daramani Sakande, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, who was being held over his dual citizenship to two years imprisonment.

His conviction was after the court presided over by Mr Justice Charles Quist had found him guilty and sentenced him to two years imprisonment each on charges of false declaration of office or voting, perjury and deceiving a public officer.

The security management expert had pleaded not guilty to the charges and was therefore admitted to bail by the court.

The MP had also testified and denied any wrongdoing and produced documents to prove his claim that he had denounced his British citizenship.

While the prosecution called four witnesses, the MP called two witness to testify on his behalf.

In the court’s judgment, the trial judge noted that the prosecution had been able to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and established the essential ingredients of the various offences leveled against the MP.

According to the court, the MP in his defence, called two witnesses excluding his relations namely mother and sisters who were residing in Accra to confirm or deny that that he was Ghanaian.

It noted that prosecution had been able to establish that the MP was not a Ghanaian but a Burkinabe who was using a British passport.

The court noted that the MP had applied in the United Kingdom as a refugee and quizzed as how a Ghanaian who was then in the UK could seek an entry visa before coming entering Ghana.

According to the court, Daramani could not convinced the court over the assertion that he was not a British national as his documents produced before the court to debunk prosecution’s case was not authenticated or stamped.

For example, the court noted that Daramani did not produce his birth or baptismal certificates to buttress his case.

It further raised questions pertaining different names used by Daramani over his Ordinary and Advance Certificates which beard the names Andy Adamu Daramani and Adamu Sakande.

According to the court, a person who has dual citizenship could not contest an election at the level of a Member of Parliament.

Mr Justice Charles Quist also recommended to the Attorney General (AG) that one Stanley Opuku, a defence witness, who claimed to be a lawyer and specialized in immigration matters in the United Kingdom, should be charged for forgery of document and perjury.

He said Opoku was not worthy of a witness and suspected that he (Opoku) was the one who provided the accused with fictitious British immigration documents claiming to have denounced his British Citizenship.

Mr Yonni Kulendi, lead Counsel for Adamu Daramani in a plea for mitigation prayed the court to temper just with mercy and fine the accused instead of giving him a custodial sentence.

He said the case was not a matter that lent itself to easy resolution and that, in a crime, informed by circumstances.

He said the court had discretion for punishing a misdemeanor and also to send a regulatory signal to the appropriate authorities.

Mr Anthony Rexford Wiredu, Principal State Attorney, said the punishment of the accused should be deemed a correction for the society.

He said people like the accused who are parliamentarians should know better and not do things which contravene the law.

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.

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 was then 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.

The High Court, in a default judgment 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 Egbert Faibille, a member of the legal team for Daramani.

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.

Source: GNA

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