By Bernice Bessey .
The Supreme Court has unanimously struck out a case brought before it for interpretation by the Editor-In-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper and also a journalist, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, in defense of the former Electoral Commissioner of Ghana, Mrs. Charlotte Osei.
Mr. Baako was praying the Supreme Court through his counsels, Lardy Anyenini and Roselyn Kaliezi, for the interpretation of Article 146 (3) of the 1992 Constitution.
However, a unanimous decision by a seven-member panel of the court, chaired by Justice Julius Ansah, dismissed the suit on the basis that it raises no issue for constitutional interpretation or enforcement.
Other members of the panel were Justice Nene A. O. Amegatcher, Justice Sule Gbadegbe, Justice Anim Yeboah, Justice Baffoe Bonnie, Justice Yaw Appau, and Justice Professor Ashie Kotey.
The justices, at the Tuesday’s proceeding made it crystal clear to Mr. Baako that what he was seeking had no basis, and also could not evoke proper jurisdiction of the court over the case, hence the exit.
Godfred Yeboah Odame, Deputy Attorney General, speaking to the media after the hearing, explained that the performance of procurement duties is part the Electoral Commissioner’s responsibilities under Article 44 paragraph ‘F’.
According to him, procumbent is one of the laws that its provisions are necessarily required to be upheld, therefore, the Procurement Act stipulates that a breach of any provisions of the Act constitutes an offense, and the punishment for such a breach, is imprisonment of up to five years.
“How can anyone reasonably contend an Act, which is done and can land a person in jail that it is not good enough to grant a person’s removal from office… clearly, there was no cause for action at all, and I think that the court was very much justified in the suit today,” he argued.
The writ, which was filed on Tuesday July 10, 2019, also wanted the apex court to hold that the Chief Justice’s prima facie determination against Mrs Osei was inconsistent and in violation of Article 146 (3) of the 1992 Constitution.
He, therefore, wanted an interpretation of Article 146 of the 1992 Constitution from the court to that effect.
In a writ filed at the court seeks to hold the Chief Justice’s prima facie determination against Mrs Osei, which was believed to be inconsistent and in violation of Article 146 (3) of the 1992 Constitution.
The 18 reliefs that were being sought by Mr Baako included a declaration that upon a true and proper construction of Article 146 (1) of the 1992 Constitution, a petition for the removal of the Chairperson of the EC, pursuant to the provisions of Article 146, was only valid if such a petition alleged stated misbehaviour or incompetence relating to the performance of the core constitutional functions of the chairperson of the EC.
He was also seeking a declaration that the finding by the Chief Justice (CJ) that a prima facie case had been made out in respect of six allegations contained in the petition for the removal of Mrs Osei pursuant to Article 146 of the Constitution, and which allegations were not founded on acts of stated misbehaviour or incompetence against Mrs Osei in the performance of her core functions as Chairperson of the EC, was unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect.
The same act was inconsistent with, and in violation of the provisions of Article 296 Clause (c) of the 1992 Constitution, and accordingly arbitrary and unconstitutional.
Mr Baako further prayed the court to rule that the CJ exercised an administrative, rather than the functions and duties of a judge or judicial officer.
Another relief that was sought was a declaration that in exercising the constitutional functions and duties of a committee constituted by the CJ under Article 146 (4) of the 1992 Constitution, the committee, so established, exercised an administrative rather than the functions and duties of a judge or judicial officer, and that the committee was required to act in accordance with regulations governing the exercise of its discretionary power under Article 146 (4) of the 1992 Constitution.