EC ordered to give parties results collation forms

Mrs. Charlotte Osei,EC boss.

Mrs. Charlotte Osei,EC boss.

The Supreme Court yesterday ordered the Electoral Commission to furnish all contesting parliamentary and presidential candidates, their representatives or counting agents with copies of elections results collation forms, which should be duly signed.

The order was given to the Commission yesterday by a seven-member panel of judges presided by Mr. Justice William Atuguba. It followed a writ filed against the EC by an Accra-based legal practitioner, Mr. Kwesi Nyame-Tsease, seeking a true and proper interpretation of Articles 42, 43, 45 (c) and 51 of the 1992 Constitution.

The EC, had for the past elections it had conducted in the country, denied all parliamentary and presidential candidates of the various political parties, copies of the collation forms, after ballots were counted at the collation centres across the country.

As a result of the several lawsuits against the Commission of late, a Supreme Court judge, Mr. Justice Jones Dotse, remarked that “there would have been crisis in our hands if the parliamentary and presidential elections were held in November 7, 2016 as earlier on proposed”.

But Parliament “aggressively” kicked against the move by a majority decision and stuck to its guns, maintaining December 7 as the date convenient for the conduct of both the parliamentary and presidential elections in the country.

In the judgement, Mr. Justice Atuguba pointed out the mistakes captured in the Constitutional Instrument (C.I.94) and directed the lawyers of both the plaintiff and the defendant to meet and see how best they could fine-tune to the original document.

Mr. Akoto Ampaw, a celebrated lawyer led the legal team of Mr. Eshun (plaintiff) while Mr. Thaddeus Sory represented the Electoral Commission with Ms. Zeynab Ayariga, an assistant state attorney, also represented the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice.

Justice Atuguba said that it would be fundamentally wrong for the EC not to provide space on the Parliamentary Elections-Result Collation Form (Form E.L. 23A) and the Presidential Elections-Result Collation Form (Form E.L. 23B) for the candidates, their agents and the returning officers to append their signatures.

In the end, the parties refined portions of the C.I. 94 as instructed by the Supreme Court and produced the following:

“Regulation 3 (1) (k) of the Public Elections Regulations, 2016 (C.I. 94) refers to Form One E.L. 1A at page 36 of C.I.94 headed “Part II CERTIFICATE TO BE ENDORSED ON WRIT” (for the parliamentary election) and not a reference to the parliamentary elections-collation form (Form One E.L. 23 A) on page 37 of C.I. 94.

“Regulation 3 (1) (m) refers to the Part II Certificate to be endorsed on the writ (Form One E.L. 1B) to be found at page 39 of C.I. 94 headed “Part II CERTIFICATE TO BE ENDORSED ON WRIT” and not a reference to Form One EL 23 B.

“The reference to the declaration of results form provided for in regulation 42 (1) (d) which does not refer to any form in the schedule, shall be understood to be a reference to Form One E.L. 1A for the parliamentary election.

“For the presidential election, the declaration of results form shall be understood to refer to Form One E.L. 1B.

“Provision shall be made on the Parliamentary Elections-Result Collation Form (Form One E.L. 23 A) and on the Presidential Elections-Result Collation Form (Form One E.L. 23 B) for the names and signatures of the returning officer at the constituency collation centre, the candidates or their representatives or counting agents.

“The returning officer, the candidates or their representatives or counting agents shall sign Form One E.L. 23 A (for the parliamentary election) and Form One E.L. 23 B (for the presidential election).
“The returning officer shall give each candidate or their representatives or their counting agents a completed and signed copy of Form One, E.L. 23 A (for the parliamentary election) and Form One E.L. 23 B (for the presidential election).

“The returning officer at the constituency collation centre shall apply the same procedure set out in regulation 42 (1) for collating the polling stations results for the presidential election, Regulation 42 (1) (e) requiring the returning officer to name the person elected shall not apply to the presidential election.

“The Constituency Collation Sheet” in regulation 49 (1) shall be understood to mean “PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS-RESULTS COLLATION FORM (Form One E.L. 23A) and PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS-RESULTS COLLATION Form (Form One E.L. 23B)” judgement as a “perfect one” which would ensure free, fair, transparent and credible elections in the country.

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