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General News of Friday, 25 January 2013

Source: Daily Graphic

Daramani Sakande flown abroad for medical treatment

Former Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Adamu Daramani Sakande, has been flown abroad for medical treatment.

Consequently, he could not appear in court Thursday when the civil case against his dual nationality came up at the Supreme Court.

The president of the court, Dr Justice Date-Bah, announced at the court's sitting that the court had received a letter from new lawyers for the former MP that he had been unwell and taken abroad for treatment.

Dr Date-Bah said the court had also received a notification of change of solicitors and that the previous lawyers for the former MP had withdrawn their services.

When the plaintiff, Sumaila Bielbel, a cattle dealer, was asked whether he had received any notification, he replied in the affirmative but said he was unaware that the defendant was unwell.

He said he had no comments and wished Mr Sakande a speedy recovery.

A state attorney also said he had received the notification of change of solicitors.

Following that, the court adjourned the matter to April 17, 2013.

The former MP, who was sentenced to two years imprisonment for owing allegiance to both Ghana and Burkina Faso, was to appear before the court and open his defence in the case.

The court had unanimously held that the case was not a jury trial and, therefore, the former MP should, in the interest of justice, open his defence and state his side of the story.

According to the court, it could not assume there was no evidence before it because Mr Bielbiel, who is seeking the original jurisdiction of the court to oust the MP from Parliament, had filed an affidavit.

They consequently ordered him to open his defence.

Bielbiel sought to oust the MP from Parliament based on allegations that he had not renounced his British nationality and following that the Accra High Court on July 27, 2012, found the former MP guilty and convicted him on three counts of false declaration of office or voting, perjury and deceiving a public officer.

Other panel members were Justices Julius Ansah, Sophia Adinyira, R.O. Owusu, Jones Dotse, Anin Yeboah, Baffoe-Bonnie, Sule Gbadegbe and Vida Akoto-Bamfo.

The former MP appealed against the conviction and sentence but has been granted amnesty by the government and thus released from prison.

Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal has asked the Attorney-General's Department to officially file that the former New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP has been granted amnesty by the government.

That, the court said, would determine whether the republic would contest the appeal filed by the former MP against his two years imprisonment for falsely holding himself as a Ghanaian in order to be elected MP.

Mr 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.

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