The Supreme Court has quashed an interim injunction of a Ho High Court that sought to prevent Mr John Peter Amewu, Member of Parliament-elect for Hohoe, from being gazetted. The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, held that the Ho High Court erred in granting an interim injunction of a human right issue instead of an election related matter.
The decision of the Court gives Mr Amewu the green light to comfortably represent his people in the eighth Parliament of Ghana after his swearing in.
On December 23, last year, the High Court prevented Amewu from being gazetted as the MP-elect for Hohoe Constituency.
This was after interested parties led by Prof. Margaret Kweku and four others filed the injunction against Amewu on the basis that the people of Santrokofi, Akpafu Likpe and Lolobi (SALL)‘s right had been breached after they were not allowed vote for their parliamentary candidate.
The Attorney General (A-G), which was made a party in the case at the Ho High Court, then filed an application invoking the supervisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court for an order directed at the Ho High Court to quash its decision made on December 23, last year.
The A-G was also seeking an order prohibiting the trial Judge of the Ho High Court from further hearing or conducting proceedings in the said suit.
According to the AG, the High Court had no jurisdiction under Article 33 of the Constitution to entertain a matter in the nature of parliamentary election petition and also grant any reliefs interim or interlocutory or final in a parliamentary election commenced under Article 99 and section 16 of the PNDC Law 284 of the Representation of the People Law.
The AG said the decision of the Ho High Court breached the constitution.
In the Supreme Court’s decision, the five-member panel granted the human rights’ leg of the matter by quashing the December 23, decision.
The apex court of the land however granted the lower court the green light to go ahead and hear the parliamentary election aspect of the matter.
It noted that the order of the Ho High Court was an interim injunction made ex-parte and same lasted only for 10 days.
The same order given by the Court has long been varied and as of today there is no substantive order by the court.”
In its 14 paged judgement, the Supreme Court noted that the interested party did not say anything about the violation of CI 128 but rather alleged the denial of the rights of the people of SALL to vote during the last elections.
“If the Interested Parties’ action is about the actions of the Electoral Commission, what has that got to do with Mr Amewu’s declaration as the winner of the Hohoe seat?
Mr Amewu has nothing to do with SALL right to vote. He (Amewu) is not the EC, he did not perform the function of the EC and he did not take part the decision as to who should vote and who should not vote.”
The Court said a Human Rights action under Article 33 was different from Parliamentary related issue under Section 16 of the PNDC law 284 of the Representation of the people’s law.
“The arguments of the Interested Party are untenable,” Supreme Court held.
On December 29, this year, the Attorney-General (A-G) invoked the supervisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to quash the decision of a Ho High Court on December 23, this year, in respect of an injunction against Mr Amewu, Hohoe MP-elect from holding himself as representing the constituency.
The Ho High Court presided over by Mr. Justice George Buadi, in an ex-parte application, restrained the MP-elect from taking his seat as Member of Parliament for the constituency.
The A-G sought an order restraining the High Court from hearing or conducting proceedings in the suit before it.
According to the A-G, the High Court had no jurisdiction under Article 33 of the 1992 Constitution matter in a parliamentary election petition and grant any reliefs, interim, interlocutory or whatsoever.
The A-G was seeking an order of certiorari directed at the Ho High Court. The A-G said the Court’s decision on December 23, was void and same violates Article 99 of the constitution.
The A-G, therefore, in an ex-parte application, asked for abridgement of time within which the interested parties to the invocation of the supervisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court may respond.
The case of the A-G is that on December 7, this year, Presidential and Parliamentary elections were held nationwide.
According to the State, Mr Amewu stood on the ticket of the NPP and was declared winner after obtaining 55.18 per cent of the Parliamentary election which took place in the Hohoe Constituency in the Volta Region.
“That the results of the Parliamentary elections were duly gazetted by the Electoral Commission on December 22, this year.”
The State said on December 23, this year, interested parties led by the losing parliamentary candidate of the National Democratic Congress in the Hohoe Constituency invoked the jurisdiction of the Ho High Court under Article 33 claiming a violation of “their human rights in the conduct of the parliamentary election in the Hohoe Constituency and prayed the court for a number of reliefs.
“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 Mr 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 state said.
The Justices of the Supreme Court were: Justice Yaw Apau,( presiding), Samuel Marful Sau, Gertrude Torkornu, Amadu Tanko and Clemence J Hoenyenugah.