A Sekondi High Court presided over by Justice Dr. Osei-Hwere on March 23, 2021, awarded a cost of GHS4,000 against Member of Parliament (MP) for Essikado-Ketan, Joe Ghartey for seeking a dismissal of a petition filed by the 2020 National Democratic Congress (NDC) Parliamentary Candidate, Dr. Grace Ayensu-Danquah.
Dr. Grace Ayensu-Danquah in January 2021, filed a petition at the Sekondi court challenging the Electoral Commission’s parliamentary results that declared Joe Ghartey as the winner of the polls held in the Essikado-Ketan constituency.
At a previous court sitting, the counsel for Joe Ghartey, Frank Davies prayed that that application filed by the NDC Parliamentary Candidate should not be entertained and must be struck out by the court on the grounds that the petition ought to have been signed by the petitioner, Prof. Dr. Grace Ayensu-Danquah herself and not her counsel, David Kwadzo Ametefe.
Justice Dr. Osei-Hwere in his ruling said the arguments by the second respondent, Joe Ghartey, failed to convince the court that the petitioner’s action was an abuse of the court processes, therefore ruled that the case by the petitioner was lawful and will therefore travel its full course.
Justice Dr. Osei-Hwere then awarded the cost of GHS4,000 against Mr Ghartey, the second respondent.
Facts of Petition
After a tension-filled collation of the Essikado-Ketan parliamentary results that even saw gunshots by military personnel to disperse agitated supporters, Joe Ghartey was declared winner in the 2020 parliamentary poll.
According to the EC, Joe Ghartey won the race with 26,701 votes against NDC’s Dr. Grace Anyensu Danquah, who had 24,527.
Dr. Grace Anyensu Danquah who was not convinced by the results then petitioned the Sekondi High Court.
In her petition, she contested that the declaration of the parliamentary election result in the Essikado-Ketan constituency on December 7, 2020, was not valid and had no legal effect and that the EC should organise a re-run of the said election.
However, the counsel for Joe Ghartey, Frank Davies at the last sitting prayed that the application filed by the NDC parliamentary candidate should not be entertained by the court as he accused the petitioner of abusing the court processes.
The presiding Judge, Justice Dr Osei-Hwere in his dismissal of the second respondent’s argument cited Article 99 of the Constitution and rules of the court where he said that although section 16 of PNDCL 284 gave no clarity as to who signs a petition, the court would examine the matter within other situations.
Justice Osei-Hwere, added that the section 17 and 21 of PNDC Law 284, gives counsel the capacity to sign a petition in a parliamentary election, adding that the “Lawyer is clothed with the capacity to present the petition and that he was not in breach of the law.”
He said the petitioner signed the affidavit while the lawyer signed the petition, indicating the name and address of the petitioner and that of the respondents and also stating the nature of the reliefs being sought.
“The affidavit was signed by the petitioner and her counsel signed the petition and so she did not err. The application is dismissed”, he pointed out.
The Sekondi High will later call for a conference with the parties to settle on a date for a full trial of the substantive case.