The presidential candidate of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, has filed an application for judicial review, praying the High Court to quash the Electoral Commission’s (EC) decision to disqualify him from contesting in the December 7, 2016 presidential election.
The motion on notice for an order for judicial review was filed by a former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Ayikoi Otoo, on behalf of Dr Nduom.
Attached to the motion as respondents are Mrs Osei and the EC as an entity.
The EC, on Monday, October 10, 2016, disqualified Dr Nduom and 11 other presidential aspirants from contesting the December 7, 2016 elections for various reasons ranging from forgery, impersonation and perjury.
The applicant is accusing the respondents of breaching the rules of natural justice and failing to live within the requirement as imposed by law.
He is also bringing the action on the grounds that per the record available, the respondents erred.
An affidavit in support of the motion for judicial review, sworn by Dr Nduom, indicated that regulation 9 (2) of C.I 94 imposed a duty on the Electoral Commissioner to give an opportunity to applicants for amendments or alteration necessary within a stipulated nomination period.
In this case, the applicant said, the EC fixed September 29 and 30, 2016, as the day for the receipt of nomination forms, “meaning that whoever presented the nomination forms on the 29th will have two days, while the one who presented it on 30th will have only hours to effect any alterations or amendments if called upon to do so.”
The period for the receipt of the nomination forms, according to the applicant, was unreasonable and was in breach of the Public Elections Regulations.
“I say further that the period for the receipt of nomination forms did not provide a reasonable period within which amendments and alterations as provided for by the regulations could have been taken advantage of.
“Since the law provided an opportunity to amend and alter nomination forms, the respondents were obliged to have notified me of the errors detected and given me the same opportunity they gave others which would have enabled me to make amendments and alterations,” the applicant continued.
The affidavit in support further noted that the respondents acted in an unreasonable manner and breached their own laws when they disqualified Dr Nduom without giving him the opportunity to correct any anomaly that might have arisen.
It said the failure of the respondents to allow Dr Nduom to correct any errors found in the nomination forms constituted an error on the face of the record.
According to the applicant, the respondents’ failure to grant the applicant a hearing before being disqualified was a breach of the rules of natural justice which automatically makes his disqualification “null, void and of no legal effect.”
A number of the subscribers of the presidential aspirants did not meet the requirements as stipulated in the Constitutional Instrument (C.I) 94 meant for the conduct of the elections
Some of the subscribers also sponsored more than one candidate with same names and voter registration details.
According to the EC they only changed their signatures.
Addressing a press conference last Monday in Accra, Mrs Osei indicated issues of forgery, perjury, impersonation and deceit of public officer would be referred to the Ghana Police Service and the Attorney General for investigations and prosecution.
The other disqualified aspirants are Mr Hassan Ayariga of the APC, Dr Edward Nasigri Mahama of the PNC and Mr Kofi Apaloo of the IPP.
Other disqualified aspirants are Mr T.N. Ward Brew of the DPP, Mr Henry Lartey of the GCPP, Richard Tetteh of the USDP, Akua Donkor of the GFP, Nana Agyenim Boateng of the UFP and Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings of the NDP.
The others are Kwabena Agyei of the RPD and Kwame Asiedu Walker, an independent candidate.
Only four presidential aspirants were cleared by the EC to contest Election 2016.
In a related develoment, the PPP has appealed to the National Peace Council Office, the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) the Christian Council of Ghana and the Office of the National Chief Imam, to call the EC to order and stop its selective application of the laws to political parties, reports Musah Yahaya Jafaru.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra yesterday, Mr Kofi Asamoah Siaw, the PPP’s Policy Advisor, said the commission was out of control and could plunge the country into chaos, hence the need for steps to be taken to reverse the trend.
“Their entrenched and belligerent posture will only lead this country to a point of no return,” he said.
Mr Siaw said the PPP members believed that the quagmire in which the country found itself suggested that the PPP and its presidential nominee, Dr Nduom, be given the opportunity to contribute and provide solutions to correct the system.
“The wind of change is blowing on the side of PPP and nothing can stop us. We are like locomotive in motion and we remain committed in providing millions of jobs to the jobless youth in this country and hope and prosperity for every citizen of Ghana,” he said.
Mr Siaw denied that the PPP had engaged in perjury, and accused the EC of rather providing the platform for the committal of electoral offences, including perjury by some other political parties.
For instance, he said, the statutory declaration form for presidential candidates required that the candidates declared under oath that they had declared their assets.
However, the PPP Policy Advisor said, there was evidence before the commission that some of the candidates had not declared their assets and yet they went ahead to swear an oath before a judge, notary public or commissioner of oath that they had done so.
“So the question we are asking is that why did the EC overlook this offence and pass these candidates without raising any issue? Is this not a matter of selective justice.
“We understand that Nana Akufo Addo did not comply with this requirement and we cite him for false declaration but he stands qualified per the EC’s decision as a presidential candidate. This is clear selective application of the EC’s own laws,” he said.
Political parties laws
Mr Siaw said the PPP complied fully with the EC’s directive for the submission of audited accounts in compliance with the political party’s law.
He said the commission was yet to sanction political parties which had not submitted the audited accounts.
“It makes us wonder if the EC believes that some parties are beyond reproach and are above the law,” he said.
Mr Siaw claimed that the receipt that the EC gave the PPP for the filing fees on October 10, 2016, was fraught with mistakes, and indicated that the amount the commission quoted in words was different from what was in figures.
“The receipt EC gave us for the payment of the deposit had GH¢1,700 in figures but in words, they wrote One Million Seven Hundred Thousand Ghana cedis,” he said.
Besides, Mr Siaw said on the same receipt the EC wrote “being payment of parliamentary candidate” without (s) as if payment was made for only one parliamentary candidate.
He said the PPP had every reason to believe that the commission had set itself on a course for a possible fraudulent act, and indicated that the party had written to the Auditor-General and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to investigate the matter and prosecute the perpetrators if deemed necessary.
Mr Siaw said the EC wanted to be seen as an institution incapable of making mistakes and committing errors, but indicated that the commission had committed some administrative errors which the party was silent on.
For instance, he said, there was no page 46 (Akwapim North District and one other) in the nomination forms that the party received from the EC.
However, he said, the PPP did not take the commission to task, but rather called on the EC to notify the commission members and they proposed an antidote to the error.