Ghana Votes 2016: Supreme Court directs EC to furnish signed results to political party agents

The Supreme Court has directed the Electoral Commission (EC) to furnish agents of political parties with collation sheets containing signed declared results for presidential and parliamentary elections.

It said provision should be made on the Parliamentary Elections-Result Collation Form (Form One EL 23A) and on the Presidential Elections-Result Collation Form (Form One EL 23B) for the names and signatures of the returning officers at the constituency collation centres, the candidates or their representatives or counting agents.

Another directive from the court was that the returning officer, the candidates or their representatives or counting agents should sign Form One EL 23A (for the parliamentary election) and Form One EL 23 B (for the presidential election).

It also directed returning officers to give each candidate or their representative or counting agents a completed and signed copy of Form One EL 23A (for the parliamentary election) and Form One EL 23 B (for the presidential election).

The suit

A legal practitioner and former Director, Department of Research, Parliament of Ghana, Mr Kwesi Nyame-Tsease Eshun, invoked the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to direct the EC to furnish the contesting parliamentary and presidential candidates, their representatives or counting agents at the constituency collation centres with copies of signed Presidential and Parliamentary Elections-Result Collation Form.

He also prayed the court to direct the EC to set out the steps to be taken in collating results of the presidential election at the constituency collation centres and entering valid votes cast on the Presidential Election-Result Collation Form, Form One E.L. 23B.

The orders

In granting the orders, the court observed the omissions in the Public Elections Regulations, 2016 (C. I. 94) and gave the parties the opportunity to go into conference and correct them.

The parties returned after a couple of hours to announce that they had effected the necessary corrections.

Those present at the meeting to effect the corrections included Mr Akoto Ampaw, lawyer for the plaintiff; Mr Thaddeus Sory, counsel for the EC, and Ms Zeinab Ayariga, an Assistant State Attorney who represented the Attorney-General. The plaintiff and other members of the bar were also present at the meeting.

The court caused the three lawyers to sign the corrected versions of the C.1. 94.

The court, presided over by Mr Justice William Atuguba, commended the lawyers for their effort and enquired if the EC made an input to which the lawyers answered in the affirmative.

He then announced that the court would then adopt the corrections as part of its decision and accordingly proceeded to do that. The corrections were part of the directives of the court to the EC.

Other members of the panel were Justice Julius Ansah, Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira, Justice Jones Dotse, Justice Anin Yeboah, Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie and Justice A. A Bennin.

Victory for democracy

Expressing joy over the court’s decision, Mr Ampaw told journalists that the decision was victory for democracy and a day that would secure for the people of Ghana free, fair, transparent and credible elections in December 2016.

All Ghanaians should be very happy that we are moving towards an electoral process for a free, fair, transparent and credible election,” he said.

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