General News of Monday, 2 September 2013
Executive Director of pro-opposition think tank, Danquah Institute, says the Supreme Court verdict dismissing the election petition challenging the validity of John Mahama’s election in the 2012 presidential poll is a corrupt decision.
Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko says “the decision is corrupt because it gave a corrupted interpretation of the  Constitution; it is like they [justices] sought to amend an entrenched constitutional provision.”
He, however, insisted that he was not accusing the court or the judges of corruption.
He said his comments on the decision of the nine-member panel must not be taken to mean that “when you say a decision [has] corrupted a constitutional provision, it means that the judge or judges who came to that conclusion are corrupt.”
Following the Supreme Court’s split decision last Thursday rejecting a call on the court to nullify some votes in the 2012 presidential election, Mr. Otchere-Darko posted on his facebok wall that the court’s decision was farcical and corrupt.
He was criticised for those comments, but speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, the Danquah Institute Executive Director, who is also a lawyer, said he was completely misunderstood.
He said his comments, which “I stand by and I do not apologise,” could not have amounted to accusing the judges of corruption because “I will be the last person to accuse any judge of corruption without evidence and I’ve been on record as saying that we should stop vilifying judges.”
What entrenched provision did the judges disregard?, he was asked, to which he responded, “I mean if an entrenched provision says that a presiding officer must sign [election results declaration forms] and the majority of the Supreme Court says that polling agents were there so even if the Presiding Officer did not sign it is ok, I think it is a corruption of the constitution and I owe no apologies for that.”
Article 49(3) of the 1992 Constitution states that “The presiding officer, the candidates or their representatives …the parties contesting or their agents and the polling agents if any, shall then sign a declaration stating – (a) the polling station; and (b) the number of votes cast in favour of each candidate…”
The petitioners – Nana Akufo-Addo, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey - proved in court that more than 900 pink sheets (election results forms) were unsigned but presiding officers as required by this constitutional provision. They, therefore, asked the court to nullify the votes in the polling areas concerned.
But five of the nine-member panel that adjudicated the matter – William Atuguba, Sophia O. Adinyira, Nasiru Sulemana Gbadegbe, Vida Akoto Bamfo, and Baffoe Bonnie dismissed the claim, a decision, Gabby Otchere-Darko says is a corruption of the constitution.
He said the Danquah Institute will soon hold a symposium “to lay out the facts and reasons why we think the decision was farcical.”