Stanley Opoku of Stanley Adam & Co Chambers in the United Kingdom (UK) who prepared the renunciation documents of Adamu Daramani Sakande, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, yesterday stated that he sent the MP’s British passport to the Home Office as part of the renunciation process.
He told an Accra High Court where the MP is being tried for alleged perjury, that after an applicant paid the statutory fees, the person processing the renunciation was only required to post the documents to the Home Office, after which the applicant would no more be considered a British national.
The witness, who is a certified Immigration and Asylum Consultant, said this in a court presided over by Justice Charles Quist when he was under cross-examination by Rexford Wiredu, the prosecuting attorney in the case.
Wiredu put it to the witness, who has been practicing for the past 16 years in the UK, that the document tendered was not genuine because the signature on the document did not belong to any officer at the Home Office.
The lawyer responded that he did not know the person who signed because no one was ever required to go to the Home Office personally to renounce their British nationality.
The witness further explained that one simply had to send the application forms, pay the statutory fees and post them together, after which the renunciation certificate would be posted to the applicant by the Home Office in accordance with paragraph 12 of the British Nationality Act.
Opoku stated that he did not know anyone working there and did not need to as there were “over a million people working at the Home Office.”
He was asked to read the serial numbers of the Home Office and when he did, Mr. Wiredu suggested that the serial numbers represented the dates they went for the renunciation, to which the asylum consultant explained that apart from the first three serial numbers bearing an applicant’s name, the rest of the numbers and letters represented when an applicant first contacted the Home Office.
Mr. Wiredu tried to suggest that the MP was a Burkinabe national and the witness, in response, admitted that he saw a travel document issued by the Burkinabe Authorities and used by the accused person to travel. He also said people who sought political asylum usually did not have the time to process their passports and often fled the country for fear of their lives.
The witness said he had, in his career as an immigration consultant, seen many cases where people did not use their real particulars when they had to travel.
The lawyer was then asked to read aloud a letter from the British High Commission in Ghana, which stated that the passport number of the MP was British.
The witness explained that the letter was only to show that the passport was that of a British citizen, and nothing more.
The witness said he knew Praises Marlon Anipa, explaining that he came with Sakande to see him when the latter wanted to renounce his citizenship. He however added that he could not discuss the MP further in court due to a Data Protection Policy.
In his examination in chief led by Yoni Kulendi, the witness told the court that “I was approached by Adamu Daramani Sakande to renounce his British citizenship and I did exactly that”.
He said he was approached by the accused person, who had been his long standing client since April 2007, for renunciation and he explained the processes to him, after which the MP left and promised to see him later.
According to him, the accused person came to him around September 2007 and he started the processes for him. He charged him the statutory fees as well as consultation fees, and took his passport, together with the application form, and posted them to the British Home Office.
He said when the renunciation letters were posted to him, he gave the original copy of the certificate to the accused person and kept the photocopy till his lawyers in Ghana asked for a copy.
The case has been adjourned to today.
Marlon Praises Anipa, a friend of the MP who testified a few weeks ago, stated that he did not come down from London just to lie in order to ensure that his friend got away with an offence, but came to tell the court all that he knew to ensure justice for the MP.
He said he was someone who had always nursed political ambitions and wanted to assist the court to do justice because the trial was a landmark case. He added that Ghanaians in the Diaspora were very much interested in it because the outcome would affect them and their descendants.
Anipa, who said this in an Accra High Court, maintained that the accused person did not buy a plane ticket for him because he was “pretty much capable of quite a number of things.”
This was in response to a cross-examination suggestion by Rexford Wiredu, that the MP bought a ticket for him to come and lie.
The prosecuting attorney put it to the witness, who runs a firm in London that offers consultancy services to mental health care givers, that on the said day he and the MP went to the lawyers’ firm, he did not understand what the two (the lawyer and MP) were doing.
In response, Anipa replied that he not only saw them, but understood the meaning of their action as he was the one who took his friend there, adding that he observed every process and could recollect quite a lot.
He said he witnessed the MP signing the document to begin the renunciation process and when Wiredu stated that in the United Kingdom (UK) every Home Office letter or form was usually stamped, Anipa said he did not think so.
Source: Fidelia Achama
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