SC dismisses case challenging the removal of former EC boss

Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr

Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr

The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed a suit by Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr, the Editor-In Chief of the Crusading Guide newspaper who is challenging the removal of former Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs Charlotte Osei.

Mr Baako wanted the court to rule that the processes leading to the removal of Mrs Osei was inconsistent and in violation of Article 146 (3) of the 1992 Constitution.

Mrs Osei was impeached by President Nana Akufo-Addo, upon recommendations of the Chief Justice Committee set up to investigative allegations of stated misbehaviour including procurement breaches against the former EC boss.

A Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame said Article 146(1) which formed the crux of plaintiff’s case was clear and unambiguous and urged the court to dismiss the suit.

Counsel for the plaintiff, Mr Sampson Lardi Ayenini, argued that Mrs Osei was not impeached on grounds of performance of her core functions as the EC Chairperson.

But the apex court in a ruling presided over by Justice Julius Ansah, dismissed the case on grounds that it did not raise issues for interpretation of Article 146(1) of the 1992 Constitution.

Mr Ayeyeni contended that the EC had an office that handles procurement matters and that breaches on procurement must not form the basis for the removal of Mrs Osei.

However, Justice Sule Gbadegbe, a panel member drew counsel’s attention that not every issue can be redressed by the Supreme Court and that its original jurisdiction is very narrow.

The writ, which was filed on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 also wanted the apex court to hold that the Chief Justice’s prima facie determination against Mrs Osei was inconsistent and in violation of Article 146 (3) of the 1992 Constitution.

Mr Baako wanted a declaration that upon a true and proper construction of Article 146 (1) of the 1992 Constitution, a petition for the removal of the chairperson of the EC, pursuant to the provisions of Article 146, was only valid if such a petition alleged stated misbehaviour or incompetence relating to the performance of the core constitutional functions of the chairperson of the EC.

He was also seeking a declaration that the finding by the Chief Justice (CJ) that a prima facie case had been made out in respect of six allegations contained in the petition for the removal of Mrs Osei pursuant to Article 146 of the Constitution and which allegations were not founded on acts of stated misbehaviour or incompetence against Mrs Osei in the performance of her core functions as Chairperson of the EC was unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect.

The same act was inconsistent with and in violation of the provisions of Article 296 Clause (c) of the 1992 Constitution and accordingly arbitrary and unconstitutional.

Mr Baako further prayed the court to rule that the CJ exercised an administrative rather than the functions and duties of a judge or judicial officer.

Another relief that was sought was a declaration that in exercising the constitutional functions and duties of a committee constituted by the CJ under Article 146 (4) of the 1992 Constitution, the committee so established exercised an administrative rather than the functions and duties of a judge or judicial officer and that the committee was required to act in accordance with regulations governing the exercise of its discretionary power under Article 146 (4) of the 1992 Constitution.

BY MALIK SULLEMANA

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