06.02.2006 Crime & Punishment

Court to rule on Presidential Election suit

06.02.2006 LISTEN

Accra, Feb. 6, GNA - An Accra Fast Track High Court, which was scheduled to commence hearing into a dispute about the December 2004 Presidential Election on Monday adjourned the matter to February 14. This followed the Electoral Commission's motion to stay proceedings pending the referral to the Supreme Court for constitutional interpretation of the matter.

The EC contended that some aspects of the suit needed constitutional interpretation hence the matter should be referred to the Supreme Court.

Counsel for Plaintiffs, Mr Tony Lithur, however, disagreed declaring that the motion of stay of proceeding was meant to frustrate the court proceedings.

According to Mr Lithur, the Court had jurisdiction over the matter saying there were factual matters that ought to be determined by the Court.

Some member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), who were in court were Mr E. T. Mensah, Member of Parliament (MP) for Ningo Prampram; Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, Deputy Minority Leader and Mr Victor Smith, Special Aide to former President Jerry John Rawlings. The Plaintiffs are Mr Rojo Mettle-Nunoo, an Education Consultant, Squadron Leader Clend Sowu (rtd) and Mr Kofi Portuphy, a farmer. The Court had earlier restrained the EC, its agents and officers from destroying materials and documents pending the determination of the case.

All the Plaintiffs are known members of 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 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 2200 hours and declared the incumbent President John Agyekum Kufuor as the winner.

It said on or about December 10, at about 1055 hours, 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 reliefs as well as costs.

The EC in its defence stated that 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. 06 Feb. 06

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