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Supreme Court verdict on Amewu case tomorrow

The Supreme Court will give its verdict tomorrow, Tuesday, 5 January 2021, on the matter in which the State, through Deputy Attorney General Godfred Dame, is fighting an interim injunction granted by the Ho High Court, against the gazetting of the parliamentary results of the Hohoe constituency in the recently-held general elections and the swearing-in of Energy Minister John Peter Amewu of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), who was declared by the Electoral Commission as the winner of that race.

On the first day of hearing the case on Monday, 4 January 2021, the court overruled an objection filed by Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, which prayed the bench to have Justice Clemence Honyenuga recuse himself from the panel of Justices on the case.

The 5-member panel of Justices, presided over by Justice Yaw Appau, in its ruling, said the instant application before it is challenging the high court’s jurisdiction and “the interest of Peter Amewu is too remotely connected” to the case.

The other Justices on the panel are Samuel Marful-Sau, Gertrude Torkunor and Amadu Tanko.

Mr Tsikata had argued that Justice Hoenyenuga had a personal relationship with Mr Amewu, thus, the need, in his estimation, for the judge to recuse himself from the case.

He cited a similar case in which Mr Victor Owusu raised the issue of a likelihood of bias against CJ Apaloo in the past.

The opposition party lawyer raised concerns of conflict of interest with the empanelling of Justice Honyenuga.

The judge, however, insisted he had no relations with Mr Amewu and was, therefore, not going to recuse himself.

The court, thus, overruled Mr Tsikata’s objection.

Background

The AG filed the motion on notice at the Supreme Court to overturn the interim injunction granted by the Ho High Court, presided over by Justice George Buadi, which followed an ex parte application by eligible voters in the newly-created Guan district.

The applicants also prayed the court to restrain Mr Amewu from presenting himself to be sworn in as MP for the area or from holding himself out as such.

The eligible voters, who are resident in the newly-created districts which include Santrofi, Akpafu, Likpe, and Lolobi, were not allowed to vote in the December 7 parliamentary elections.

As a result of the creation of the Oti Region and the subsequent creation of the Guan District which includes Santrokofi, Akpafu, Lolobi and Likpe (SALL), the Electoral Commission of Ghana gave a directive that the people of SALL should not vote in the parliamentary election in the Hohoe Constituency on December 7.”

Mr Amewu polled 26,952 votes to beat the main opposition National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) Margaret Kweku, who polled 21,821 votes.

Meanwhile, the EC has revealed that it will begin the process of creating a new constituency in the Guan District when Parliament commences in 2021.

The AG, among others, is seeking an order of certiorari directed at the Ho High Court, to bring to the apex court, for the purpose of being quashed, the orders of the Court dated 23 December 2020 in Suit No. E12/40/2021 titled: ‘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’.

The AG is also seeking an order prohibiting the Ho High Court from further hearing or conducting of proceedings in the matter.

The State argues that the orders of the Ho High Court 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”.

The statement of case filed by the Attorney General on behalf of the Member of Parliament-elect for the Hohoe Constituency, said the facts of the case make it abundantly clear that the pursuit of the action filed by the interested parties at the High Court 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 AG’s 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 AG stated.

Source: ClassFMonline.com

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