The Applicant who initiated the legal action at the Tema High Court seeking an interlocutory injunction against Electoral Commission’s Limited Voters’ Registration exercise has again asked the court to commit Jean Mensa, the Chairperson of the EC to prison.
In a Contempt Application filed on Tuesday, September 12, the very day the EC commenced the registration which is the subject matter of his application for injunction, urged the Court to also jail her two deputies – Dr Bossman Eric Asare and Samuel Tettey (in charge of operations).
Ayitah Precious, a private citizen who also described himself as unregistered voter, had on September 8, filed an originating motion at the High Court seeking among other things, a declaration that the decision of the EC to restrict the limited voter registration exercise to its 268 district offices is unlawful, and a violation of the Applicant’s fundamental human rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution.
The Applicant also was seeking an order for interlocutory injunction restraining the EC (Respondent), its agents, workmen and assigns from restricting the limited voter registration exercise to its District offices.
But, though the said application according to him has been served on the EC, the Chairperson and her deputies have disregarded that notice, issued a public notice and have commenced with the very action he wanted challenged.
He contended that, “the decision of the Electoral Commission to conduct the limited registration exercise in its district offices is a direct interference with the due administration of justice and prejudicial to the outcome of the Applicant’s pending Interlocutory Injunction Application and the substantive suit before this Honourable Court.”
On the premise of this, Ayitah Precious through his lawyer Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo earlier on Tuesday, filed a motion on notice for committal for Contempt pursuant to order 50 rule 1(2) of Constitution Instrument (C.I47).
“Please take notice that Counsel for and on behalf of the Applicant herein will move this Honourable Court for an order of this Court citing and committing the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents to prison for contempt of this Honourable Court upon the grounds set out in the accompanying affidavit and for any such orders) the Court may deem fit to
make,” the Applicant motion stated.
Hearing notice for that application has been fixed for September 16, 2023.
Affidavit in support
In his affidavit in support to the application for contempt, the Applicant said, the EC’s decision to restrict the limited voter registration exercise to its district office instead of the already existing electoral areas means that I cannot partake in the upcoming limited voter registration exercise.
He said, being aggrieved by the said decision of the EC, he was compelled to institute an originating motion on notice in the High Court Tema and also filed an intercolutory injunction application to restrain the Respondents from further actions.
He contended that, the said originating motion on notice and interlocutory injunction were served on the Electoral Commission on September 8 2023 to restrain it from going ahead with the limited voter registration exercise at its district offices.
However, the Respondents have disregarded the said injunction application and further continued to state publicly their intention to continue with the limited voter registration exercise in its current form.
“That on the 11th of September 2023, there was a press release by the Electoral Commission stating that the limited Registration exercise will begin on the 12th September 2023 at its 268 District Offices of the Electoral Commission.
“The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission on the 10th of May 2023 informed the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in a similar circumstance that it will not supervise the Presidential and Parliamentary primaries of the party unless the injunction application is determined by the Court as it does not want to be cited for contempt of Court.
“That I am advised by Counsel and verily believe same to be true that a person can be committed for contempt when his actions are prejudicial to the outcome of a case pending before a Court of competent jurisdiction.
“That I am advised by Counsel and verily believe same to be true that the Respondents act of putting measures in place to go ahead with the limited registration exercise in its District offices whilst this Court is yet to hear and determine the Applicant’s Interlocutory Injunction Application is prejudicial to the outcome of the application before the Court, and is calculated to prejudice and overreach the Applicant’s originating motion on notice and injunction application pending before this Honourable Court.
“That the decision of the Electoral Commission to conduct the limited registration exercise in its district offices is a direct interference with the due administration of justice and prejudicial to the outcome of the Applicant’s pending Interlocutory Injunction Application and the substantive suit before this Honourable Court.
“That I am advised by Counsel and verily believe same to be true that where a case has been filed, any action, intention, omission or conduct that is likely to prejudice or prejudices the outcome of the case or interferes with the due administration of justice will be tantamount to contempt of Court.
“That I am advised by my Counsel and verily believe same to be true that where a party to a suit before a Court takes an action which may jeopardize the outcome of the case or application before the Court, such an action amounts to contempt of the Court.
“That the Respondents intentions to continue with the limited voter registration exercise at its district offices jeopardizes the outcome of the Applicant’s Interlocutory Injunction Application and the substantive suit before this Court and is therefore contemptuous of this Honorable Court.
“That the conduct of the Respondents is unpardonably contemptuous.
“That the Respondents deserve a custodial prison sentence and nothing less for bringing the administration of justice into disrepute.
“That in the circumstances, I humbly pray that this Honourable Court commits the Respondents to prison for Contempt of this Honourable Court,” the Applicant stated.