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General News of Monday, 7 November 2016

Source: Class FM

Supreme Court rules on EC versus PPP case today

A 7-member Supreme Court panel presided over by Justice Sophia Adinyira will today, Monday, 7 November give its ruling on the case brought before it by the Electoral Commission seeking to counter-quash a ruling by the High Court, which ordered the election management body to allow disqualified flag bearer of the Progressive People’s Party, Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, to get back into the presidential race.

The EC resorted to the Supreme Court via a certiorari application to seek finality to the plethora of court cases filed against it by some of the 13 presidential nominees it disqualified over certain filing anomalies.

Prior to the certiorari application, the EC said in a statement after the High Court ruling that it had “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 Commission 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 so that the electoral calendar is saved,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, Dr Nduom has expressed confidence his face will definitely be on the ballot paper for the 7 December 2016 presidential poll.

Last week, another disqualified flag bearer, Mr Hassan Ayariga of the All People’s Congress (APC) also had a favourable ruling by the court against the EC. The court ordered the EC to have him correct the mistakes he made on the nomination forms for which he was disqualified. Also, flag bearers of the Independent People’s Party (IPP), National Democratic Party (NDP) and the People’s National Convention (PNC) are also battling the EC on court over their disqualification. The EC is hopeful that Monday’s ruling will end all cases filed against it in connection with the disqualifications.

Meanwhile, private legal practitioner Frank Davies has said Mr Ayariga and his lawyers should not “deceive” themselves that Friday’s High Court ruling ordering the EC to give the APC flag bearer the chance to correct mistakes he made on his nomination forms, is an automatic scaling of the nomination hurdle.

“The fact that you have been ordered to go and correct whatever anomalies there are on your forms does not necessarily mean that you have passed the test of the nomination.

“So, if you have been given a chance to go and correct, what comes after the correction? So it’s not cast in stone. Nobody should deceive himself or herself …” Mr Davies told Naa Dedei Tettey on 12Live on Class91.3FM on Friday shortly after the court ruling in response to Mr Ayariga’s lawyer Maxwell Logan who argued that: “I find no logical reason why any decision in the Supreme Court should affect us…”

Mr Davies said: “The Supreme Court is going to determine the essence of the very rulings that have been given in those courts. That is why it is the highest court of the land. … So if what has happened in the High Court is not in reflection with what the Supreme Court is going to say on Monday, nobody can stand on that ruling. That ruling in law becomes recused. So I think we should all wait for what the Supreme Court will say.”

Mr Logan, however, argued that: “Mr Davies’ position, in my view, is wrong. When a court makes a pronouncement, and there is a similar matter concerning different parties in a superior court, the decision of the superior court does not automatically affect the judgement of the lower court unless the losing party in the lower court comes by way of an appeal to the lower court and says: set aside the decision because the Supreme Court has decided otherwise. So there will be no automatic effect on the decision of Justice Charway today unless the EC effects an appeal or a certiorari process in the Supreme Court.”

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