Techiman South election dispute: Court slaps GH¢4,000 fine on EC

BY: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah
Jean Mensa — EC Chairperson
Jean Mensa — EC Chairperson

The Wenchi High Court last Friday refused to grant the notice of stay of proceedings filed by counsel for the Electoral Commission in the ongoing Techiman South election dispute filed by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate, Mr Christopher Beyere Baasongti.

The application was to enable the EC to file a motion at the Court of Appeal to challenge the ruling of the Wenchi High Court during its previous sitting at which it granted a motion of the petitioner to amend the title of writ.

In refusing to grant the application, the court however slapped a cost of GHC4, 000.00 fine on the EC and adjourned proceedings to Friday, October 14, 2021 for the continuation of hearing of the case.

Arguments

Counsel for the petitioner, Mr Justin Teriwajah, argued that the application was frivolous and unnecessarily geared towards delaying the adjudication of the case.

He explained that even though counsel for Mr Adjei-Mensah Korsah, MP for Techiman South, indicated during the previous sitting that he would file a motion either in support or against the granting of the motion of the petitioner to change the title of the writ, he failed to do so.

He said in granting the application, the court acted within its jurisdiction, explaining that the Court of Appeal did not need the High Court to stay its proceedings before sitting on any appeal filed before it by the EC.

In justifying the application for stay of proceedings, however, counsel for the EC, Mr Emmanuel Addae asked for adjournment to enable him to file supplementary statements in support of the application.

Comment

Commenting on the ruling, the General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, said the New Patriotic Party (NPP) had realised that it had no case and had therefore adopted tactics to delay proceedings of the court.

He explained that the court's ruling had made it clear that the EC could go on with its appeal at the Court of Appeal while it also proceeded on the hearing of the writ.

Background

Mr Baasongti filed a writ at the Wenchi High Court after the December 2020 general election to challenge the declaration of Mr Korsah, the then NPP candidate as the winner of the Techiman South parliamentary election.

Even though the court has set out five issues for the determination of the writ, it is yet to sit to determine those issues.

The issues include whether the Returning Officer of Techiman South, Nana Dwamena Prempah, collated or did not collate the results of the parliamentary election and whether the NDC candidate, Mr Baasongti, garnered the majority votes as he claimed.

The third and fourth issues to be determined, according to the court, are whether or not the declaration by the returning officer was valid and whether or not Mr Korsah was validly elected.

The final issue to be determined is whether the petitioner disclosed a reasonable cause of action.