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General News of Saturday, 1 December 2012

Source: Daily Graphic

Court to Afari-Gyan: You're in contempt for refusing to register 3,000 voters

The Accra Fast track High Court yesterday gave the Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC) up to December 5, 2012 to conduct biometric registration of some voters in the Kasena Nankana East District of the Upper East Region or face the wrath of the court.

The court, presided over by Mr. Justice Utter Dery, gave the order after finding the EC Chairman, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, and two other officials of the commission guilty of contempt for disregarding an order to conduct biometric registration of the voters in the area.

The court is set to hand down its sentence on December 5, 2012 to enable the contemnors to purge themselves.

The other contemnors are Mr. Sarfo Kantanka, the Deputy Chairman of the EC, and Mr. Nicholas Pawiah, the Kasena Nankana District Electoral Officer.

The court also rescinded a bench warrant which had been issued for the arrest of Mr. Pawiah.

The action of the court was predicated on a judgment given on October 18, 2012 against the EC and six others by the court, presided over by Mr. Justice Edward Asante Amoako, which ordered the EC to conduct registration of voters in eight affected registration centres of the Atosale/Azaasi and Akumkongo/Abempingo Electoral areas within 14 days.

The court further ordered the Upper East Regional Police Command to provide the necessary protection for officers of the EC to enable them to undertake the registration exercise and that if the officers thought that the police in the area did not have enough men to provide the necessary protection, they should report the matter to the Inspector General of Police (IGP).

The court of appeal further said concerning the volatility of the security situation in the area, it was of the view that the security services were capable of dealing with any situation in Ghana and so it should not be grounds to disenfranchise the people of the area.

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