The Supreme Court (SC) has thrown out an interlocutory injunction suit filed by private Ghanaian citizen Fafali Nyonator, in which she prayed the highest court of the land to stop President Nana Akufo-Addo from appointing a new Chair for the Electoral Commission.
The court further said the application was fraught with errors.
Counsel for the plaintiff, Chris Ackumey, had argued that the overriding purpose of his client’s application, was to entrench the rule of law and also seek legal remedies vis-à-vis what his client considered a breach of the Constitution.
Mr Ackumey said the application was appropriate since it was aimed at arresting all constitutional infringements.
According to him, there shall be two EC Chairs should the final determination of a substantive case challenging the dismissal of former Chair Charlotte Osei – also filed by his client – go in their favour, hence, appropriate for the court to grant the application.
He added that the circumstances under which a prima facie case was established against Mrs Osei was wrong.
But Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, disagreed. Citing Article 2 of the Constitution to buttress his argument, Mr Dame prayed the court to disapprove the application on the scale of convenience.
He stressed that the EC cannot function without a Chair and Commissioners.
Mr Dame drew the court’s attention to some impending district assembly elections and referenda, hence the need for a new Chair to be appointed.
The seven-member panel of justices, presided over by Justice Julius Ansah, ruled against the applicant, saying Article 22 of the Constitution provides a remedy in the event of the verdict of the substantive case going in favour of the applicant.
Fafali Nyonator’s did not prevent the president from nominating Mrs Jean Mensa as the new EC Chair ahead of the ruling on a substantive case by the same person challenging the constitutionality of the president’s removal of Mrs Osei from office.
Mrs Osei and her two deputies, Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwah were dismissed by President Akufo-Addo on grounds of incompetence and procurement breaches at the election management body.
A committee set up by Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, to investigate separate complaints brought against the three persons by Ghanaian citizens, recommended their removal.
In 2017, the five-member committee investigated alleged acts of corruption involving Mrs Osei and her two deputies.
Some staff of the EC petitioned Nana Akufo-Addo to remove Mrs Osei from office over allegations of fraud and financial malfeasance as well as abuse of office. Mrs Osei also counter-alleged corruption against her deputies insisting that she has done nothing wrong and only being hounded out because she is fighting internal graft. The president, in accordance with the constitution, forwarded the petition to the Chief Justice to look into the matter.
The Committee recommended the dismissal of Mrs Osei and her two deputies.