A Court of Appeal judge yesterday dismissed an application seeking to stop the National Identification Authority (NIA) from carrying its mandatory function of Ghana Card registration in the Eastern Region.
Justice Anthony Oppong who is sitting with additional responsibility as a high court judge said the applicants; Messrs Kevor Mark-Oliver and Emmanuel Akumatey Okrah failed to demonstrate that they have a right worthy of judicial protection.
The applicants’ cause of action stemmed from the announcement by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on March 15, 2020, for the suspension of public gatherings, including workshops, conferences, funerals and religious activities for the next four weeks in the wake of the outbreak of coronavirus in Ghana.
But ruling on the application, the judge said he was of the considered view that the President’s directive does not bar the NIA from executing its constitutional duties.
Justice Oppong also dismissed the substantive suit and awarded cost of GH₵ 6,000 in favour of the NIA.
He said the premise upon which the applicants initiated the action was egregiously flawed.
The judge noted that the applicants’ claim of being disenfranchised by the registration was misplaced as the Ghana Card was not the only form of identification to obtain the voter’s card.
Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame filed an affidavit in opposition to the interlocutory injuction and subsequently filed another application for a bridgement of time to expedite proceedings in the matter.
Mr Dame had stated in his affidavit in opposition to the interlocutory injunction that the NIA had been observing social distancing and personal hygiene protocols and that the ongoing registration was not part of the President’s directive.
He said all staff of the NIA was supplied with personal protective equipment (PPE) such as hand sanitisers, hand gloves, liquid soap, water bowls and hand towels and, therefore, the measures outlined by the NIA could not be deemed to be a violation of the directives issued by the President.
Mr Dame stated that the applicants had demonstrated no cause of action to be protected by an injunction.
He said the application was frivolous, incompetent, and unmeritorious and urged the court to dismiss it.
Counsel for the applicants, Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo said the respondents ought to have sought the leave of court for abridgement.
On Friday, March 20, 2020, the applicants in their attempt to enforce the law filed an application for contempt of court praying the court to convict the Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), Professor Kenneth Attafuah and three others for contempt of court.
The applicants wanted the court to punish the respondents for continuing with registration and issuance of the Ghana Card in the Eastern Region, after an interlocutory injunction had been served on the Authority on March 19, 2020, to stop the ongoing registration exercise, in the wake of outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ghana.
In their affidavit for committal for contempt of court, the applicants said the conduct of Prof. Attafuah and his colleagues amounted to interference with the administration of justice.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA