The Sekondi High Court hearing the case in which the eligibility of the NDC Member of Parliament (MP) for Jomoro in the Western Region, Dorcas Afo-Toffey is being challenged has fixed Monday, November 21 2022 as the date for its final judgment on the case.
The presiding judge, Justice Dr. Richmond Osei Hwere indicated this after the counsel for the petitioner, Bright Agyekum had cross examined an Ivorian practicing lawyer who testified for the MP on the Ivorian Nationality code.
The judged noted that prior to the final ruling by the court, the lawyers for the petitioner and the respondents would have to present their written addresses.
He, therefore, asked them to file the written address on November 7, 2022. “So get the email address of the court and make sure you send a soft copy before filing”, he told the lawyers.
The Ivorian practicing lawyer Dadje Ange Rodrigue 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.
He noted that in view of article 48 of the Ivorian Citizenship Code any Ivorian shall lose his or her citizenship, in case that person voluntarily acquires a foreign citizenship.
The Ivorian who testified through an interpreter noted that by acquiring the Ghanaian citizenship the 1st Respondent (the MP) lost her Ivorian citizenship as of January 2019 automatically.
“So at the time of contesting the parliamentary elections of December 2020 in the constituency of Jomoro, the 1st Respondent had already lost her Ivorian citizenship”, he stated.
Lawyer Bright Agyekum asked “So your understanding of the Article 48 is that the loss of nationality can be by a word of mouth”?
“No, but the moment an Ivorian takes on another nationality, that person automatically loses his or her Ivorian citizenship under article 48 of the Nationality code”, he asserted.
Bright Agyekum said “I am putting to you that by her own showing, the 1st Respondent had been a dual national of Ghana from May 1972 when she says she was born in Ghana “?
“So your opinion about the state of the Ivorian law in relation to the 1st Respondent’s circumstances is incorrect”?
The Ivorian lawyer did not agree with him.
He also explained to the court that per article 52 of the Ivorian Nationality code, a person can also lose his or her nationality by forfeiture.
He disagreed with lawyer Bright Agyekum that a declaration of ones renounced nationality under article 48 of the Ivorian nationality code should be done in the presence of a presiding judge or an appointed Magistrate or a judge of a Division court in the jurisdiction where the declarant resides.
Meanwhile, a representative of the Electoral Commission (the 2nd respondent), in the Jomoro constituency, Samuel Mensah who was also cross-examined noted that the EC accepted the MP’s nominations based on the regulations had were available for the EC to follow at that time.
The petitioner, Joshua Emuah Kofie of Nuba-Mpataba in the Jomoro Constituency last year filed a suit challenging the Jomoro MP to produce evidence of her renounced dual citizenship.
According to the petitioner, Dorcas Afo-Toffey was not qualified to contest in the 2020 parliamentary elections as she held dual citizenship at the time.