The Supreme Court will today, hear an application from the Electoral Commission (EC) seeking expeditions hearing of the disqualification case of the flagbearer of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom.
That would enable the court to hear the matter earlier than originally scheduled, due to the closeness of the December 7 polls.
The EC filed a motion at the Supreme Court on Monday, invoking the court’s supervisory jurisdiction to set aside the October 28, judgement of an Accra High Court which directed the EC to permit Dr. Nduom to amend his nomination forms.
According to the EC, the High Court committed an error of law apparent on the face of the record.
It also contends that the High Court wrongly assumed jurisdiction of the matter, as well as exceeded its jurisdiction.
The EC has stated that the High Court was wrong in holding that it did not set a nomination period for submission of nomination papers by candidates, adding that it was beyond doubt that the court conceded in its judgement that beyond the nomination period, no opportunity was afforded any candidate to correct any anomalies in their nomination papers.
“With regard to the nomination period, the evidence before the court in so far as the parties are concerned, is that the nomination period was fixed by applicants to last from the 8th day of September, 2016 to the 30th day of September 2016,” the writ stated.
According to the applicant, Dr. Nduom himself deposed to the nomination period at “paragraph 8 of his affidavit in support of his application before the High Court as follows: this year, the EC opened nominations between the period of 8th September and 30th September 2016”.
The evidence before the court, according to the commission, was that Dr. Nduom knew that the EC had fixed the nomination period.
It said Dr. Nduom also “knew what this period was and acted in accordance with it. There was, therefore, no dispute whatsoever as to the fact that the applicant had fixed the nomination period. The affidavit evidence and which is the only evidence upon which the court tries applications of the kind before the court, emphatically confirmed the nomination period.
“Interestingly, however, and notwithstanding this overwhelming evidence before the High Court on the nomination period, the High Court proceeded to hold that “…the nomination period as contemplated by Regulation 9(3) of C.I. 94, was conspicuously not set by the Commission,” the statement of case noted.
According to the Commission, it was clear again from the High Court’s ruling that the nomination period played a crucial role in so far as the ruling of the court was concerned, adding that “the court was clear that any anomaly that first respondent detected on the interested party’s nomination paper was to be corrected within the nomination period”.
The High Court in Accra on October 28, quashed the EC’s decision, which disqualified Dr. Nduom from standing for the December 7 presidential election.
It, therefore, directed the EC to afford him the opportunity to correct the anomalies on his nomination forms.
According to the court, the EC’s disqualification of Dr. Nduom without giving him an opportunity to correct anomalies on his nomination form was a breach of the rules of natural justice.
By Edem Mensah-Tsotorme