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Bawku MP Trial Adjourned

By Daily Guide

The on-going trial over the nationality of the Member of Parliament for Bawku, Adamu Daramani-Sakande, at an Accra Fast-Track High Court has been adjourned.

This was after Egbert Faibille, counsel for the MP, prayed the court for a short adjournment on grounds that the lead counsel for the accused person, Yoni Kulendi was bereaved and as a result would not be able to be present for a continuation of the case.

The trial Judge Justice Charles Quist subsequently had the case adjourned to September 4, 2009.  

 The MP is standing trial for multiple nationalities.  

An immigration officer at the Kotoka International Airport, Nolasco Nyiedu who gave evidence at the trial last week admitted that a document issued by the Burkina Faso authorities which the MP used to travel, was “a travel document” and not a passport as alleged by the prosecution.

He made the admission during cross-examination by Yoni Kulendi, counsel for the MP, who asked the witness whether he could say for sure that it was a passport.

The immigration officer in charge of Immigration of  Kotoka International Airport (KIA) also told the court presided over by Justice Charles Quist that he was not familiar with the requirements of acquiring passports in the United Kingdom (UK).

Nyiedu, who stated that he was once with the Fraud Unit at the Immigration Office and dealt with Alien Passport, Refugees Passport, Emergency Travel Certificates and Laissez Passe, stated that the passport issued to the accused person, Mr. Sakande, by the British authorities, was normally granted to persons seeking asylum or persons with refugee status.

When he was asked to tell the court what features on British travel documents showed whether one was a refugee or not, he said he could not identify.

He was further asked if he could determine who an asylum seeker was, to which he replied that one needed a wider background of an individual to determine whether or not that person was an asylum seeker.  

 The witness said he was familiar with the requirements of acquiring passports in Ghana and when asked what the requirements were, he said one needed a birth certificate, place and date of birth, nationality of parents and noted that that one must be a citizen of a country before one can apply for a passport.

When asked whether that was all one needed to acquire a passport, he said the nationality of the parents of a person who had applied for a visa was equally of importance.

The MP was ordered to vacate his seat in parliament by an Accra High Court in a default judgment, after a cattle dealer, Sumaila Bielbiel, dragged him to court claiming he had multiple nationalities. By Fidelia Achama