Ghana: Proofed Court to Rule On Disqualification of Independent Presidential Candidate

President @NAkufoAddo and Opposition Leader @JDMahama signing the Presidential Elections Peace Pact
25 November 2020

The Criminal Division "two" of the Accra high court will on November 30 rule on an application, in which Mr Marricke Kofi Gane is seeking to quash the decision of the Electoral Commission (EC) to disqualify him from contesting the 2020 general election as an independent presidential candidate. The applicant was disqualified by the EC on grounds of alleged forgery. Displeased by the decision, Mr Gane filed an application in the nature of judicial review, asking the court to invoke its supervisory jurisdiction against the EC's decision to disqualify him. Appearing before the court, presided by Justice El-Freda Denkyi, counsel for the applicant, Nurudeen Saeed, argued that, his client was not given the opportunity to be heard on the alleged case of forgery and improprieties levelled against him. Mr Saeed said although the EC claimed it has referred the matter to the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service, neither he nor his supporters have been invited for questioning. He contended that the action by the EC was in breach of the principle of natural justice, and asked the court to order the EC to put his client's name on the ballot paper. Mr Justice Amenuvor, counsel for the EC, argued that a Certiorari application did not act as an automatic grant, but rather discretionary in nature. He said the court could not make the said orders or declarations that the applicant was asking "because the court does not have the said nomination forms to understand what actually happened." Mr Amenuvor asked the court to dismiss the application. Mr Gane and four others were disqualified in October for forgery. The EC's technical team found that a number of signatures endorsing Mr Gane's form had a similar pattern. According to the commission, police subsequently came to the conclusion that a number of the signatures endorsing his forms were fake.

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