The Electoral Commission has filed an appeal to challenge the High Court ruling directing it to allow the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) to correct errors on their nomination forms that led to the disqualification of the party’s presidential candidate.
An Accra High Court last week directed the EC of Ghana to make way for Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom to correct anomalies cited on his nomination form.
The court presided over by His Lordship Kyei Baffuor, said the EC breached the law of natural justice in disqualifying the PPP flagbearer from the race, and, therefore, asked the election management body to allow him to make the necessary corrections on his nomination forms.
However, the EC is invoking the supervisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in their appeal.
Dr Nduom, according to the EC, was disqualified because “the number of subscribers to his forms did not meet the requirements of Regulation 7 (2) (b) of CI 94“.
The PPP then filed a lawsuit seeking to restrain the EC from proceeding with the balloting for positions of presidential candidates.
But on Friday, October 28th, the presiding judge sitting at the Commercial Court 7, made it clear that the EC should have given Dr Nduom an opportunity to correct anomalies on his nomination form before disqualifying him.
“I will proceed after quashing the decision of the Respondents disqualifying the Applicant as a candidate and order that the Respondents afford opportunity to the Applicant to make the necessary alteration or amendment to its nomination paper for it to receive same and then proceed to determine whether the Applicant had met all the criteria laid down by the laws of the Republic, in line with its duty laid down by C.I. 94. EC has no basis to complain that nomination period has closed when they did not set one. They only set nomination day under regulation 7 but not nomination period under regulation 9(2) as I have already found. The time frame to afford the Applicant is entirely within the discretion of the Respondents being mindful of the limited time available for the elections on December 7, 2016,” Justice Eric K. Baffour, Esq ruled.
However, barely a week after the landmark ruling, the EC says it is heeding to the Supreme Court for clarity and possible quashing of the ruling.
In a statement issued in Accra Monday, the EC indicated that “having carefully studied the contents of the judgment, we respectfully disagree with the High Court judge’s decision on several essential legal and public policy grounds“.
Below is EC’s statement;
REVIEW OF HIGH COURT DECISION
The Electoral Commission has completed a review of the judgment of the High Court, Accra dated 28th October, 2016 in the case of the Republic v Mrs. Charlotte Osei & Electoral Commission; Ex parte Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, numbered GT1401/2016.
Having carefully studied the contents of the judgment, we respectfully disagree with the High Court judge’s decision on several essential legal and public policy grounds.
The Commission is of the firm conviction backed by the law, that candidates seeking the highest office of the land, must take full responsibility for ensuring that their nomination forms meet the standard in form and substance, required by the law.
The Commission is further of the view that falsified signatures on nomination forms constitute a matter for criminal investigation and are not mere anomalies or clerical errors, which should be pointed out to candidates for corrections to be effected.
The Commision believes that, as in other jurisdictions, presidential candidates must ensure the accuracy of the information on documents which they present under oath to public institutions. Failure to place this burden on the shoulders of the candidates, has serious implications for our democratic growth and electoral justice.
In the interest of public policy and the credibility of the electoral process, the Commission has today filed an application at the Supreme Court to quash the High Court decision and seek clarity on the relevant aspects of the law on candidate nominations.
We believe it is in the overall national interest and on the grounds of public policy that the Supreme Court provides clarity on this matter. A judgment from the Apex Court would effectively bring finality to the issue once and for all.
In the interest of national peace and cohesion, we respectfully implore the Highest Court of the land to determine our application expeditiously in accordance with the earlier directive of Her Ladyship the Chief Justice and for the sake of the electoral calendar.
ERIC KOFI DZAKPASU
Head of Communications
Source: TopNews Ghana.com/GHANA