The Progressive Alliance Movement (PAM) has filed an ex parte motion at the High Court citing all seven members of the Electoral Commission (EC) for contempt of court. The applicants; Dr. Kofi Boateng, Agyenim Boateng, Nellie Kemevor, Obed Danquah and Christian Sillim; are praying the Court to commit the EC Chairperson, Jean Mensa and six others to a jail term for disobeying the its order.
The applicants describe as a continuous disobedience of the orders of an Accra High Court, directing the Commission to implement within 12 months, the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act also known as the ROPAA law, 2006 [Act 699]. Delivering his judgment on December 18, 2017, Justice Anthony Yeboah said the EC had for the last 10 years breached the rights of Ghanaians living abroad by failing to give them an opportunity to vote.
He thus condemned the EC’s failure to address challenges preventing Ghanaians living abroad from voting, and specifically asked them to ensure that arrangements are made for such people to vote in the 2020 elections.
The EC should have completed the process by now if the court order were heeded. But that did not happen until the deadline of the court’s directive ended on November 30, 2018. The EC later in a motion cited by Joy News a couple of weeks ago, filed a motion asking for an extension of time.
However, the dissatisfied applicants through their layers A-Partners @ Law, have filed a motion at the High Court against the EC. This time they are asking the Court to punish Mrs. Mensa and the other commissioners – Samuel Tettey, Dr. Eric Bossman, Ebenezer Aggrey-Fynn, Hajia Saadatu Maida and Rebecca Kabuki Adjoa – for disrespecting its orders.
“…That the 1st Respondent and its commissioners named in the said judgment and directed by the Court to comply with said Judgment and Orders therein have since failed, refused and or neglected to respect and comply with the specific orders of the Court including to have passed a Constitutional Instrument for implementation of the Act 699.
The applicants further contend that the EC and its commissioners have with impunity, continued their contemptuous acts of not complying with the specific orders directed at them personally by the Court, “…by failing, refusing and or neglecting to comply and take advantage of the window of opportunity granted by this Court…” They, therefore, have requested that the Court applies sanctions to the EC and its commissioners as a step to “protect the judicial system from abuse and from being treated with levity.” EC responds
Meanwhile, the Chairperson in her response to the motion says at the time the judgement was delivered, she had not been appointed Chair of the Commission. Mrs. Mensa stated, however, that after her appointment, she had been ensuring that steps were taken in complying with the orders. It was in this direction that lawyers for the Commission filed an application for extension of time within which the operationalisation of Act 699 would take place, she explained.
According to the EC Chairperson, she stated the reasons for the Commission’s inability to comply with the timelines set out in the judgment of the court. Denying all the allegations by the applicants, Mrs. Mensa maintained her inability as Chair of the Commission to act within the specified period as directed by the court, was not to bring the administration of justice into disrepute or disregard.
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