The nomination of the new Electoral Commission Chairperson, Jean Mensa, could suffer legal hurdles if the Attorney General has already been served with an injunction against the process, Legal Practitioner, Martin Kpebu has said.
On July 18, a Ghanaian citizen, Fafali Nyonantor filed a fresh application praying the Supreme Court to restrain President Nana Akufo-Addo from appointing a new Chairperson for the EC, pending the determination of her substantive case against the removal.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr. Kpebu said all parties would have to “stay their hand” until the court determines the case, only if the AG was served with the injunction.
In addition, the lawyer noted: “The dominant principle is that when the attention of the person you want to injunct is served, the processes should be put on hold until the court makes a determination.”
“Generally when an application for an injunction is pending before a court of law, the parties are restrained even though the court has not yet given an order. If only the injunction motion has been served then the parties have to hold their hands until the court decides. In this case, I do not know, but if there is evidence that the AG has been served, then legally, it is not the right thing to do….” the lawyer added.
The nomination of the four officials was announced in a statement from the Presidency on Monday, July 23, 2018.
Other persons nominated for appointment by President Akufo-Addo to the Commission include;
1. Samuel Tettey – Deputy Chairperson
2. Dr. Eric Asare Bossman – Deputy Chairperson
3. Ms. Adwoa Asuama Abrefa – Member of Commission
The statement, signed by the Chief of Staff, Frema Opare-Osei said Akufo-Addo, “sought the advice of the Council of State in accordance with Article 70(2) of the Constitution, for the appointment of a new Chairperson, two Deputy Chairpersons and a member of the Electoral Commission (EC).”
“President Akufo-Addo is hopeful that the Council of State will discharge its constitutional duty expeditiously, to enable him to make these critical appointments to this very important institution of State,” the statement added.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has expressed dissatisfaction with the nomination, saying the President has abused his discretionary powers.
Charlotte Osei removed
President Akufo-Addo on June 28, 2018, removed the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Charlotte Osei and her two deputies – Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwa from office upon the recommendation of a committee set up by the Chief Justice, to investigate separate complaints brought by some Ghanaian citizens.
Charlotte Osei was accused of various procurement breaches, while the deputies were also found guilty of same offenses.
Although government spokespersons have justified the move, some members of the opposition have challenged it, saying Madam Charlotte Osei, who was appointed by then-President John Mahama, was only hounded out to enable the NPP rig the election in 2020.
The Editor-in-Chief of the Crusading Guide Newspaper, Mr. Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, has sued the government over Charlotte Osei’s dismissal.
In a writ invoking the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court for the interpretation of the Constitution, Mr. Kwaku Baako argued that the Chief Justice Committee which investigated petitions for the removal of the EC Boss exceeded its constitutional mandate.
He thus asked the Supreme Court to pronounce the removal inconsequential.
His suit came after another Ghanaian, Fafali Nyonator, also sued the Attorney General over the removal of Charlotte Osei.
Supreme Court can’t stop President
But Godfred Dame, a Deputy Attorney General in an interview on Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana, said the appointment of a new EC chair will go ahead regardless of the legal lawsuits.