A five member Supreme Court panel presided over by Justice Yaw Appaw has granted an ex parte application by the Attorney General for the abridgment of time for the hearing of an application by the State seeking to quash the decision of the Ho High Court which granted an Interim Injunction to stop the Electoral Commission from Gazetting the Parliamentary election results of the Hohoe Constituency.
Even though the application was ex parte, lawyer for the interested parties in the case, Tsastsu Tsikata, appeared in Court and asked to be heard before the State moves its motion for the abridgment of time. The five Justices in the interest of justice and fair hearing obliged him. Mr. Tsikata in his submission said he and his clients in the interest of justice are ready to file their response by morning on the 31st of December 2020.
The Court being a place of records decided to observe the laid down processes by allowing the Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, who represented the State, to move his motion and subsequently made their pronouncements.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Yaw Appaw, after the motion had been moved, ruled that, the lawyer for the interested parties, must file his statement by 12 noon tomorrow the 31st of December 2020, and the Attorney General if interested in filing any further processes, must also do so by close of day tomorrow the 31st of December 2020. The Electoral Commission (EC) was however not invited to file any processes even though their lawyer, Justin Amenuvor, was present in Court. The Court then set the 4th of January 2021, as date for the hearing of the substantive matter.
*The AG Case as Filed*
The Attorney General yesterday the 29th of December 2020, filed a motion on notice at the Supreme Court praying the court to quash the decision of the Ho High Court that granted an interim injunction in an ex parte application by five applicants seeking to stop the Electoral Commission (EC) from gazetting the parliamentary results of the Hohoe Constituency in the 7th December 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.
The motion entitled “The Republic versus High Court, Ho, Ex parte, Attorney General (Applicant), Prof. Margaret Kweku, Simon Alan Opoku-Minta, John Kwame Obompeh, Godfred Koku Fofie, Felix Quarshie (Interested Parties)", among others, is seeking an order of certiorari directed at the High Court, Ho, Volta Region, with Justice George Buadi presiding, to "bring into this Court for the purpose of being quashed the orders of the court dated 23rd December, 2020 in Suit No. E12/40/2021 entitled “In the matter of an application under Article 33 of the Constitution, 1992 and order 67 of the High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2004 (C.I.47) and the Inherent Jurisdiction of the High Court between Professor Margaret Kweku, Simon Alan Opoku-Mintah, John Kwame Obompeh, Godfried Koku Fofie, Felix Quarshie and the Electoral Commission, Wisdom Kofi Akpakli, John Peter Amewu and The Attorney-General”
Additionally, the Attorney General is also seeking an order prohibiting the High Court, Ho, Volta Region from further hearing or conducting proceedings in the said case. It is the contention of the Attorney General that the orders of the Ho High Court dated 23rd December, 2020, constituted a "patent error on the face of the record to the extent that they purported to confer on the applicants (interested parties herein), non-existent voting rights in respect of the Hohoe Constituency in the Volta Region."
*Argument of the Attorney General*
According to the Statement of Case filed by the Attorney General on behalf of the Member of Parliament-elect for the Hohoe Constituency, the facts of the case make it abundantly clear that the pursuit of the action filed by the interested parties at the High Court, Ho, is an attempt to enforce a non-existent right.
“The interested parties have already been told by this Honoruable Court that, to the extent that C. I. 95 places their traditional areas of Santrokofi, Akpafu, Likpe and Lolobi in the Hohoe Constituency, same is unconstitutional. CI 95 ought to be amended in order to place the said traditional areas in the Oti Region. They ceased to be part of the Hohoe Constituency in Volta Region immediately the Oti Region was created and they were put thereunder.
The alleged failure of the Electoral Commission to amend CI 95 to give effect to the boundaries of the new regions, does not mean that the interested parties together with the residents of the 4 areas, can continue to assert voting rights in the Hohoe Constituency. To do so will be inconsistent with Article 47(2) which prohibits a constituency from straddling two regions, and will create further constitutional chaos,” the Statement of Case noted.
“It is thus beyond doubt that the action at the High Court, Ho, is a palpable abuse of the process. The wrongful assumption of jurisdiction by Justice Buadi, was a serious error apparent on the face of the record. This court ought to exercise its supervisory jurisdiction to prevent a situation where the interested parties will, through the backdoor, surreptitiously seek to assert the right to vote in a manner which is constitutionally frowned upon.
The interested parties’ case is borne out of mischief and an attempt to judicially sanction an unconstitutionality. It is merely a vile attempt to upset the hard won electoral victory of the winner of the parliamentary election in Hohoe Constituency through an unjustified invocation of the court’s human rights jurisdiction,” the Attorney General further stated in his argument.
On the 7th December, 2020, Presidential and Parliamentary Elections were held throughout Ghana for the election of a President and Members of Ghana’s Parliament in two hundred and seventy-five (275) constituencies existing in the country.
The Parliamentary Election in the Hohoe Constituency in the Volta Region resulted in the due declaration by the Electoral Commission of John Peter Amewu (standing on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party) as the winner, having obtained 26,952 (55.18%) of the popular votes. Subsequently, the results of the Parliamentary Elections nationwide were duly gazetted by the Electoral Commission on Tuesday, 22nd December, 2020.
However, on 23rd December, 2020, the interested parties mentioned above, led by the losing parliamentary candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Hohoe Constituency, invoked the jurisdiction of the High Court, Ho, under Article 33, claiming a violation of their human rights in the conduct of the Parliamentary Election in the Hohoe Constituency.
5 member Supreme Court panel presided over by Justice Yaw Appaw is handing the case
Justice Samuel Marfo Sau, Justice Gertrude Torkonoo, Justice Clemence Hoyenugah and Justice Ibrahim Tanko.
Tsastsu Tsikata is opposing the ex parte application of the State for abidgment of time.