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15.12.2005 Politics

Court restrains EC from destroying 2004 presidential vote documents

By GNA
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Accra, Dec. 15, GNA - An Accra Fast Track High Court has restrained the Electoral Commission (EC) from destroying documents and materials of the December 2004 Presidential Elections pending the determination of a case before it. It further ordered the EC to retain in its custody all documents and materials forwarded to it in respect of the December 7, 2004 Elections.

This followed a motion on notice for interlocutory injunction filed by Mr Rojo Mettle-Nunoo, an Education Consultant, Squadron Leader Clend Sowu (rtd) and Mr Kofi Portuphy, a farmer, praying the court to restrain the EC, its agents and officers from destroying materials and documents pending the determination of the case. All the Plaintiffs are known members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). The Plaintiffs are also seeking the order of the court to compel the EC to continue to retain in its custody all documents and materials forwarded to the Commission.

In an affidavit in support of their motion, the Plaintiffs contended that on December 7, 2004, in pursuance of the EC's constitutional obligation and statutory mandate, it organised and supervised nationwide elections to elect into office the President and 230 Members of Parliament. After the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections of 2004, the EC, "by its Chairman, convened a press conference on December 9, 2004 at about 10:00 pm declared the incumbent President, His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor as the winner". It said on or about December 10, at about 10:55 am, the Chairman of the EC, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan once again held another press conference and declared President Kufuor as the winner of the Presidential Election.

The Plaintiffs said this time, the declaration according to the EC's Chairman, mentioned that the results of the elections were based on 227 out of 230 constituencies. "The results at all material times were and declared to be provisional." The EC did not oppose to the motion, declaring that it had no intention to destroy documents of the 2004 Presidential Elections. In the substantive case, the Plaintiffs are seeking among other things a declaration that the EC was bound to publish in the gazette or in any manner permitted by law, the full and complete results of the December 7, 2004 Presidential Elections. These include the details of total votes cast in each constituency, the total valid votes cast for each presidential candidate and respective percentage votes. They are also seeking further orders and other relief as well as costs.

The EC in its defence stated the results published in the declaration of the President Elect Instrument, 2004, was based on the total number of votes cast for each presidential candidate throughout the country and not on constituency basis. According to the EC, the number of votes cast for each candidate in each region after having been checked and authenticated by the agents of candidates, were sent by fax from the regional offices of the Commission. "These were also checked again by agents of candidates to ensure that they were properly authenticated." The results were then sent to the Chairman of EC and to the International Press Centre in Accra where they were released to the various press houses and radio stations and to the public.

According to the EC Article 64 (1) of the 1992 Constitution stated that any citizen aggrieved or dissatisfied with the declaration contained in the Declaration of the President Elect Instrument, 2004, had 21 days to present a petition to the Supreme Court challenging the declaration. The Court adjourned the substantive matter to February 6, for hearing.

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