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General News of Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Source: Class FM

Lawyer faults EC, says law provides for corrections

The court can nullify the Electoral Commission's (EC) decision to disqualify 13 presidential aspirants from the December polls if it is proven that the election management body failed to draw their attention, within the stipulated time, to make corrections on their nomination forms, for which reason they have been disqualified, a constitutional lawyer, Mr Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi has said.

Those disqualified include flag bearer of the All People's Congress (APC), Hassan Ayariga; Dr Edward Mahama of the People's National Convention (PNC); Dr Agyenim Boateng of the United Front Party (UFP); Kofi Akpaloo of the Independent People's Party (IPP); Kwabena Adjei of the Reformed Patriotic Democrats (RPD); and Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive People's Party (PPP).

The others include: Dr Henry Herbert Lartey of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP); Mr Richard Nixon Tetteh (United Development Systems Party); Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings of the National Democratic Party (NDP); Thomas Ward-Brew of the Democratic People’s Party (DPP); Alfred Kwame Asiedu Walker, an independent candidate, and Akua Donkor of the Ghana Freedom Party (GFP). Mr Akwasi Addae Odike of the United Progressive Party's nomination is on hold pending a court case.

The chair of the EC, Mrs Charlotte Osei, cited filing anomalies including fraudulent signatures, absence of a required number of signatures, improper filling of nomination forms, among others, as the reasons for their disqualification. In the case of Mr Odike, Mrs Osei said Mr Odike had been given up to Friday, 14 October to deal with the court case or count himself out of the race completely.

Mrs Osei said some of the fraudulent information provided by the nominees would be followed up by the police for possible arrest and prosecution.

Those whose nominations have been accepted include President John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Nana Akufo-Addo of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Ivor Greenstreet of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), and Jacob Osei Yeboah – an independent aspirant.

Speaking about the disqualification on the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Class91.3FM on Tuesday, October 11, Mr Antwi said the law provides that the EC calls the attention of the aspirants to any mistakes or anomalies detected on their forms and given the chance to correct same in time.

"The same CI 94 that the Electoral Commission refers Ghanaians to as the reasons for rejecting the nominations of these candidates, she was referring to regulation 7, but if you look at regulation 9, regulation 9(2) says that: 'If the Returning Officer shall inform the candidate that the candidate's nomination is invalid, where the particulars of the candidate or the persons subscribing to the nomination paper are not as required by law or the nomination paper is not subscribed to as required by law, and shall give the candidate an opportunity to make amendments or any alteration necessary within the stipulated nomination period'. If the Electoral Commission had invited them and drawn their attention to the fact that mistakes have been made and that they have to make corrections and these candidates refused, then she would be right, or the Commission would be right to do what they have done…" he stated.

"If the invitation was made and the people declined then the Electoral Commission is within the law and I cannot fault the Commission. But if they were not invited, then I think … if it goes to court, that will be the evidence the court will require. Were they invited? Were they given notice within the stipulated period and did they respond? If nothing like this has happened then the court will probably nullify what the Electoral Commission seeks to do, but if not, then the court will confirm what they have done," Mr Anyimadu-Antwi, who is a former law lecturer at the Kwame University of Science and Technology (KNUST) added.

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