ROPAA: Contempt case against EC bosses dismissed
The High Court has dismissed a contempt application filed against the Electoral Commission and its commissioners for failing to comply with an earlier court order to implement the Representation of People’s Amendment Act (ROPAA).
The applicants who are Ghanaians living abroad through their lawyers were asking the court to commit the commissioners for contempt for disobeying the court orders.
The commissioners were sued for contempt for failing to implement orders from the High Court that modalities be put in place to operationalized ROPAA within 12 months.
The applicants in the case are five Ghanaians who live in the Diaspora.
It was the case of the applicants that the EC had “failed, refused or neglected to respect and comply” with the specific orders of the court in spite of numerous letters that they wrote to remind the EC of the impending deadline.
But the court in its ruling did not give any reason to its decision, except to ask the parties to apply to the registrar of the court for its full decision.
Prior to the ruling of the Court, the EC Chairperson Jean Mensa deposed to an affidavit in opposition to the Motion on Notice for Committal for contempt by Kofi A. Boateng PhD and four others where she said “on 18th December 2017, the High Court, Human Rights Division, presided over by His Lordship Anthony K. Yeboah, J (as he then was) gave judgment for the operationalization of Act 699 by the Electoral Commission of Ghana within 12 months reckoned from 1st January 2018”.
The affidavit continued, “I say that, at the time of the Judgment therein in 2017, I was not the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission. I was subsequently appointed in July 2018 as the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission and I was not immediately seized with the necessary orders of the Court in operationalizing Act 699 upon my appointment”.
“I say yet again that, having been seized with the orders of the court after my appointment in July 2018, and ensuring that steps are taken in complying with the orders of the Court, I through my lawyers filed an application for extension of time within which the operationalization of Act 699 would take place and in the said application I stated the reasons for the Electoral Commission’s inability to comply with the timelines set out in the judgment of the court referred to above. Attached marked Exhibit JAM 1 is a copy of the application for extension of time filed on 30th January 2019”.
Mrs. Jean Mensa denied that “in the performance of my official duties as the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Ghana, I have acted willfully with the view to bring the administration of justice into disrepute or disregard. Save as hereinbefore admitted, I deny each and every allegation of fact contained in the applicant’s affidavit in support of this application as if the same as been set out in extensor and denied seriatim”.