Politics

PPP sues EC over election filing fees

The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has sued the Electoral Commission (EC) over the filing fees for presidential and parliamentary candidates for the 2016 elections.

The EC on September 8, 2016 announced the filing fees for presidential and parliamentary candidates at GH¢50,000.00 and GH¢10,000.00 respectively; an amount the party has described as “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable.”

According to the party, although the EC per PNDC Laws 284 and 285 has the discretionary powers to charge filing fees for presidential and parliamentary elections, the electoral body needed a statutory instrument and not a constitutional instrument to exercise those discretionary powers.

The party is therefore, praying the High Court to stop the EC from collecting the fees until the appropriate statutory instruments have been passed in accordance with an appropriate legal regime.

Below is the writ filed at the High Court by the PPP

IN IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF JUDICATURE

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

GENERAL JURISDICTION

ACCRA – A.D. 2016

SUIT NO.:………………

PROGRESSIVE PEOPLE’S PARTY, PPP PLAINTIFF

HOUSE NUMBER 5

FOURTH CRESCENT

ASYLUM- DOWN

ACCRA

VERSUS

1. THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION

8TH AVENUE

WEST RIDGE

ACCRA

2. ATTORNEY GENERAL

MINISTRY OF JUSTICE AND ATTORNEY GENERAL

MINISTRIES – ACCRA DEFENDANTS

STATEMENT OF CLAIM

1. Plaintiff is a duly registered political party in the Republic of Ghana under article 55 of the 1992 Constitution and sections 5, 8, and 11 of the Political Parties Act, 2000 (Act 574).

2. 1st Defendant is the Ghanaian constitutional body mandated under Article 45 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana and the section 2 of the Electoral Commission Act, 1993 (Act 451) with the mandate of conducting all public elections including Presidential and Parliamentary elections inter alia.

3. 2nd Defendant is the Attorney General of Ghana, a Minister of State and the principal legal advisor to the Ghanaian Government.

4. Plaintiff avers that as a duly registered political party in the Republic, she is entitled to participate in shaping the political will of the people, to disseminate information on political ideas, social and economic programmes of a national character, and sponsor candidates for election to any public office subject to the Constitution and other laws consistent with the Constitution of Ghana.

5. Plaintiff says that as at the 1st day of September, 2016, she had completed in electing a Presidential candidate with a vice presidential candidate and also prepared 275 parliamentary candidates ready to sponsor them to the public office of the Presidency and Parliament of the Republic of Ghana through the 2016 Ghanaian Presidential and Parliamentary Elections being conducted by the 1st Defendant.

6. Plaintiff states that on Thursday September 8, 2016, she participated in an Inter-Party Advisory Committee, IPAC, meeting called by the 1st Defendant together with other registered political parties in Ghana during which the parties were informed by the 1st Defendant that the filing fees for Presidential and Parliamentary Elections would be GHC50,000.00 and GHC10,000.00 respectively.

7. Plaintiff again states that in order to fully participate in this year’s general elections, she must find and deposit with the 1st Defendant an amount of GHC2, 800,000.00 of which fees and or deposit of fees would be confiscated to the State should Plaintiff failed to secure at least 25% of the presidential votes and 12.5% votes in each constituency parliamentary votes in the general elections.

8. Plaintiff avers that this filing fees imposed by 1st Defendant is arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable.

9. Plaintiff further states that 1st Defendant quoted regulations 8 and 45 of C.I. 94 as the legal basis for this unfettered charges of filing fees and or deposit of same.

10. Plaintiff avers that charging of filing fees for Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in Ghana is discretionary power vested in the 1st Defendant by PNDC Laws 284 and 285.

11. Plaintiff further avers that 1st Defendant could only exercise that discretionary power upon publishing a statutory instrument with regulations that are not inconsistent with PNDC Laws 284 and 286 and also the provisions of the 1992 Constitution to govern the exercise of the discretionary power.

12. Plaintiff states that as at today there is no existence in the Republic of Ghana any such statutory instrument that governs the exercise of the discretionary power of fees and its deposit with 1st Defendant herein mentioned.

13. Plaintiff states again that C.I. 94 only re-state the mandate of the 1st Defendant vested discretion of determining the filing fees with respect to the 2016 general elections and not the specific fees to be charged and basis of the fees charged as required by law.

14. Plaintiff further states that the proper instrument to govern the exercise of the 1st Defendant’s vested discretionary power to charge fees or to request of a deposit of fees for the general elections 2016, ought to be a statutory instrument and not a constitutional instrument.

15. Plaintiff further avers that regulations 45 of C.I. 94 is discriminatory in nature, arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable.

16. Plaintiff states again that 2nd Defendant has not said a word against this marauding show of power without any legal justification by the 1st Defendant’s request of a deposit of filing fees for the 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections thereby embolden 1st Defendant in perpetuating these obvious illegalities against the political parties and individual candidates in this 2016 general elections.

17. WHEFORE Plaintiff prays for the reliefs infra against the Defendants:

i. A declaration that the Presidential and Parliamentary Filing Fees and or Deposit as announced by the 1st Defendant on September 8, 2016 for the conduct of the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections 2016 in the Republic of Ghana is arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable.

ii. A declaration that regulation 45 of C.I. 94 is discriminatory, arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable.

iii. A declaration that the entire C.I. 94 does not contain the appropriate relevant provisions that meet the intendment of articles 296 of the 1992 Constitution.

iv. A declaration that the proper instrument within the meaning of the relevant laws of the Republic of Ghana in charging a deposit and or fees for conducting a Presidential and Parliamentary Elections by Electoral Commission is a statutory instrument and not constitutional instrument.

v. An order directed at the Defendants to desist from collecting the said deposit or fees for the conduct of the 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections until the appropriate statutory instruments have been passed in accordance with appropriate legal regime.

DATED AT KOI LARBI & CO. HOUSE NUMBER 6, 1ST MENSAH MAMFE STREET SHIASHIE EAST LEGON ACCRA THIS 19TH DAY OF SEPTEMBER, 2016.

LAWYERS FOR PLAINTIFF

DENNIS OWUSU-APPIAH OFOSUAPEA ESQ.

S.L. NO. GAR: 11587/16

THE REGISTRAR

HIGH COURT

GENERAL JURISDICTION

ACCRA

AND TO:

1. THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION

8TH AVENUE

WEST RIDGE

ACCRA

2. ATTORNEY GENERAL

MINISTRY OF JUSTICE AND ATTORNEY GENERAL

MINISTRIES – ACCRA

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