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03.03.2006 General News

EC files appeal at Supreme Court

EC files appeal at Supreme Court
MAR 3, 2006 GENERAL NEWS

The Electoral Commission (EC) has filed an appeal at the Supreme Court seeking interpretation of a case brought against it by three members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The plaintiffs, Mr Rojo Mettle-Nunoo, Squadron Leader Clend Sowu (retd) and Mr Kofi Portuphy, all members of the NDC, have sued the EC at the Fast Track High Court in Accra claiming that the EC failed to gazette the 2004 presidential election as required by the law.

However, the EC has stated that the Fast Track High Court has no jurisdiction to hear the matter and accordingly decided to refer the matter to the Supreme Court for interpretation.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear the case on Tuesday, March 14, 2006.

Following the EC's decision to go to the Supreme Court, the Fast Track High Court has adjourned the case sine die, pending the outcome of the appeal.

The court adjourned the case indefinitely after counsel for the EC, Mr Osei Aduama, had informed the court that the EC had filed an appeal at the Supreme Court seeking an interpretation into the matter.

According to the EC, the court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter because it was the Supreme Court, which had the power to interpret the issues raised by the plaintiffs.

It, accordingly, prayed the court to refer the matter to the Supreme Court for interpretation.

Mr Aduama had argued that there was the need for the court to stay proceedings and refer the matter to the Supreme Court, but the court, on February 14, 2006, ruled that it had jurisdiction to hear a matter brought against the EC.

The court, accordingly, refused to refer the matter to the Supreme Court for interpretation and awarded costs of ¢2 million against the EC. But the EC went ahead and filed an application at the Supreme Court seeking interpretation into the matter.

However, the Fast Track High Court, upon hearing the application of the EC to the effect that the case had been fixed for hearing on March 14, 2006 at the Supreme Court, decided to adjourn the case sine die.

The plaintiffs have sued the EC, claiming that the commission was bound by law to publish the full and complete results of the December 7, 2004 presidential election.

The court, in its ruling on February 14, 2006, stated that the court found no reason to grant the application for stay of proceedings pending the outcome of an appeal against the court's decision to take evidence before referral to the Supreme Court.

It said it did not refuse to make the referral sought for by the defendant but that it wanted to take evidence, look at disputed facts, re-look at the constitutional provisions being sought and take a decision.

The court, accordingly, reminded the defendant that it had the right to appeal if, at the end of the day, the court refused to make the referral being sought for.

It further reminded the defendant that it had the right to appeal against the court's decision not to stay proceedings pending the outcome of the appeal.

The court, on December 14, 2005, ordered the EC not to destroy any electoral material relating to the December 7, 2004 presidential election until the final determination of a suit brought against it by the three members of the NDC.

The court order followed a motion on notice for interlocutory injunction filed on behalf of the plaintiffs.

In a statement of claim accompanying the writ, the plaintiffs prayed the court to declare as illegal the refusal or neglect of the EC to publish the results.

The EC, on the other hand, stated that the two press conferences, which declared the winner of the presidential election, were based on the fact that more than 50 per cent of the total number of valid votes had been cast in favour of His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor.

“And regarding the total votes in the remaining constituencies..., even if all were cast in favour of the second-placed candidate, Professor J. E. A. Mills, there would have been no change in the result.”

The EC contended that it had performed its constitutional duty by publishing the Declaration of President-Elect Instrument, 2004.

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