The Judicial Board of the University of Ghana Student Representative Council (UG-SRC), has charged the Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Roland Eyram Tettey and his deputies, Mr. Anoaga Fushieni Hadiru and Ms. Ethel Elikem Mensah for contempt.
The Electoral Commissioners were summoned by the court after the Commission was said to have flouted the orders of the court in the Akwasi Asafo-Adjei v. SRC President and others: in Re Electoral commission case.
The Commission disregarded an injunction granted by the bench on the 11th of April, 2019 and went ahead to conduct the UGSRC elections the following day.
Counsel for the Electoral Commissioner and first deputy, John Kwashigah Nenyo submitted that his client had consistently heeded to directives of the court and did not have the clear intention of violating the order.
He sighted that the Dean of Student Affairs had given the go ahead to proceed with the elections, before adding that the Registrar of the court, who is usually the legitimate means by which the bench conveys information to the commission, used a ‘casual WhatsApp’ message, rather than a PDF document which has the official letter head of the UGSRC Judicial council.
Mr. Roland Tettey, the Chair of the Electoral commission was subject to some drilling in the form of questioning by the bench.
There were instances where he did contradict himself with regards to the consistency in the submissions he made and at times showed a bit of emotions with the tendency of shedding tears but for a tissue given him.
Mr. Hadiru, the first deputy of the Commission intervened at some point to bail out his boss in an attempt to convince the bench.
The second deputy Commissioner, Ms. Ethel Mensah, also took her turn in the dock where she was also subject to questioning from the bench.
Counsel for the second deputy, Mr. Samuel Kafui, opined that his client was sidelined by her superiors in almost the whole electoral process, stating that she only saw the Constitutional Instrument (C.I) moments before it was sent to the General Assembly of the UGSRC for approval.
Her counsel provided evidence in the form of previous chats her client had engaged in with her superiors which revealed how her inputs were almost always overlooked.
The bench made reference to articles 3 and 23 of the UGSRC constitution which spelt out the grounds for removal as a reward for contempt.
Counsel for the Electoral Commissioner continuously prayed the court to have mercy on his clients and pleaded that the punishment be cushioned with claim that action to go ahead with elections amidst the injunction was not a deliberate act.
Counsel for the second deputy, pleaded with court not to include Ms. Ethel in the case as she as not actively involved in decision making.
After recess, the bench dismissed the pleas, and found the Electoral Commissioners guilty of contempt.
The Court ruled that the Commissioners render an official apology to the council on all media platforms and noticeboards.
Also, the Chairman of the Commission was ordered to pay a fine of GHC500, with his first deputy asked to cough a fee of GHC 300.
Ms. Ethel who is the second deputy was also instructed to pay a fine of 100 cedis.
Lead counsel for the Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Kwashigah Nenyo spoke to UniversNews after the Court ruling.
“The bench have come out with their ruling and we have no option but to obey. We have always listened to the orders of the Court from the start of the electoral process.
In this case it was not our intention to flout the court order. We did not believe in the validity of the WhatsApp message we received in three or four lines at the dawn of the elections. We acted on the principle of ‘balance of convenience’
In the second hearing, Current UGSRC General Assembly Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ewura Adams Karim, and former Speaker of Parliament for Alexander Adum Kwapong Hall, Mr. Star Botchway were also charged with contempt for ranting on a Judge on the bench and passing ruthless comments respectively, after the court upheld the injunction on the Nii Tackie v Electoral Commission and SRC President case.
The former was giving a stern warning whereas the latter was instructed to pay a fine of GHC 300 before Thursday, April 18, 2019.
By: Dampte-Larbi Godfred | universnewsroom.com