Alhaji Collins Dauda CAPTAIN NKREABEA Effah Dartey Rtd yesterday prayed the Supreme Court to stop the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) hopeful Alhaji Collins Dauda, from being declared the winner of the December 2008 Parliamentary elections in Asutifi South because there were exceptional circumstances which did not make the elections free and fair.
Mr. Dauda went to the Supreme Court to quash the ruling of the Sunyani High Court which has stopped the Electoral Commission (EC) from declaring the results.
He said circumstances such as the missing form which the New Patriotic Party (NPP) agent signed his signature on among other reasons triggered the court action at the Sunyani High Court which stopped the EC from declaring the winner.
However, the retired captain who is counsel for Yiadom Boakye Boateng, the NPP MP aspirant for Asutifi South could not convince the Supreme Court Judges that he had a cause of action or that by rushing to a Sunyani High Court to stop the results declaration; he was not interfering with the constitutional mandate of the EC.
Counsel for Mr. Boateng, the respondent, told the court presided over by Justice William Atuguba that he came under PNDC Law 284 which states that a petition must wait 21 days after results are declared or gazette or in a case where there is corrupt practice or intimidation on the part of the person whose election is being questioned.
When the judges asked him why they had to go to the High Court in Sunyani to stop the EC from declaring the results, the Rtd Captain said they were basing their action on the second leg of the law which cites cases of corrupt practices among other things.
The Supreme Court Judges again asked why he did not allow the EC to declare the results before he went ahead to initiate the action since the law says there must first of all be a winner before the decision can be challenged, but Mr. Effah-Dartey said he thought the aim of the second leg of the law was to prevent any wrongful declaration by the EC.
Counsel for the NPP MP aspirant reiterated that the aim of the second leg of the said law was to prevent any wrong declaration by the EC.
When Justice Sophia Akuffo asked whose election he was challenging since no winner had been declared by the EC and the law clearly states that there must first of all be a winner, he said the EC was going to announce someone the winner, which had to be stopped by the court because the process was not fair.
Then Justice Sophia Adinyera told him that he should not have presupposed who the winner would be but could have waited till the declaration and not made assumptions.
Mr. Samuel Codjoe counsel for Dauda in his submission said the Sunyani High Court which granted the interim injunction restraining the EC from declaring the winner, had no jurisdiction in the matter except after results have been declared, but in this case the results had not been declared. He explained that the Judge would have had jurisdiction if the EC had completed its work.
In addition he said if such an action continues, the EC would not complete its work contrary to the Constitution which says the EC should not be under the control of anybody or authority in the performance of its duty.
Counsel for the EC, Mr. Quarshie Idun, who was invited as an interested party told the court that the EC should be allowed to complete its work in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and added that the EC, not satisfied with the High Court also filed an appeal so they could declare the results, but the Appeals Court said it would await the decision of the Supreme Court.
A Principal State Attorney Ms.Silvia Adusa, representing the Attorney-General said they supported the move by the NDC aspirant to have the decision of the High Court quashed.
Other Judges involved in the case included Justices Date-Baah and Paul Baffoe-Bonnie. The case has been adjourned to April 8 for ruling.
By Fidelia Achama