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17.02.2009 Politics

Ruling on Akwatia election case fixed for February 20


A Koforidua High Court, presided over by Justice Suurebareh, has adjourned the Akwatia Election dispute case to February 20, for ruling on the procedure used in filing the case.

Dr Kofi Asare, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary candidate and second defendant in the Akwatia election dispute has petitioned the court to strike out the writ filed by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on grounds of competency.

Counsel for Dr Asare, Mr Kwasi Amoako Adjei, challenged the competency of the writ filed by the NDC parliamentary candidate, Baba Jamal, at the court, instead of a petition, adding that “the plaintiff may have grievance and good grounds to grief but must satisfy the laws”

Quoting PNDC law 284, Mr Adjei contended that matters connected to elections were supposed to be filed at the court in the form of petitions and not writ.

He told the court that the Akwatia elections were characterized by irregularities and impropriety therefore the PNDC law 284 amended by the peoples law section 16 interpreted that validity of any election dispute may be commenced by a petition.

Referring to other contested election disputes filed at the courts for redress, he stressed that petition was entirely different from a writ and prayed the court to strike out the writ so that the NDC could approach the court in a lawful way.

Counsel for Baba Jamal, Mr Carlos De-Souza, also quoting the same PNDC law 284 said “election petition cannot be filed when an election has not come to finality like the Akwatia parliamentary election where none of the five contestants had been declared a winner”.

He argued that the Akwatia election results “had not been gazetted, a winner had not been declared and the Electoral Commission (EC) had also not informed the Clerk of Parliament of any MP elect therefore it could be described as no election had taken place at Akwatia for a petition to be filed to address a grievance”.

He prayed the court that “the cry of the three contestants including Baba Jamal and the two independent candidates for a fresh election to be held in the constituency must be listened to”.

Meanwhile the NDC has filed a petition at the Appeal Court for stay of proceedings by the court on the competency of the writ.