An Accra High Court will today hear an application seeking to injunct Ghana Card registration in the Eastern Region.
The case was scheduled for hearing on April 9, 2020, but the court granted an affidavit for abridgement of time put in by Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, a Deputy Attorney-General (A-G).
Two Ghanaian citizens, Messrs Kevor Mark-Oliver and Emmanuel Akumatey Okrah have asked a Human Rights High Court in Accra to injunct the Ghana Card registration in the Eastern Region, in the wake of the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ghana.
Their 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.
Mr Dame filed an affidavit in opposition to the interlocutory injuction and subsequently filed another application for abridgement of time to expedite proceedings in the matter.
Appearing before Justice Anthony Oppong, a Court of Appeal judge sitting with additional responsibility as a high court judge, the Deputy A-G argued that the court has the power to reduce the time for hearing.
Mr Dame said the applicants application is immaterial and without basis.
Counsel for the applicants, Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo, said the respondents ought to have sought the leave of court for abridgement.
Ruling on the application, Justice Oppong said he found the opposition against abridgement of date as paradoxical and that it was in the interest of the applicants who claimed their human rights and freedoms were being violated to seek expeditious and efficient trial of the case.
Mr Dame had stated in his affidavit in opposition to the interlocutory injunction that the National Identification Authority (NIA) had been observing social distancing and personal hygiene protocols, and that, the registration was not part of the President’s directive.
He said all staff of the NIA were 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.
Stating his regard to the many functions, including voter registration, which the exercise sought to achieve, the Deputy A-G contended that irremediable harm which could never be compensated in damages by the respondents would be occasioned by the grant of the injunction.
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.
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 want 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