Bediatuo Admits Misinterpreting Supreme Court Decision

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…Days After Sending NPP On Wild Jubilation

Lawyer for the two politicians, who took the Electoral Commission (EC) to the Supreme Court on the electoral roll, has said they may go back to the Court to seek clarity on some aspects of the judgment requiring cleaning of the Voters’ Register, because what he heard in court, is different from what a certified copy of the Supreme Court judgment on the case is saying.

Speaking on Joy FM and MultiTV’s news analysis programme, Newsfile on Saturday, Nana Asante Bediatuo, gave the impression of a confused man, saying that the clarity might be necessary, because the judgment is being misinterpreted by many.

His party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) through a hurriedly held press conference by ‘Let My Vote Count Alliance’ (LMVCA), had hailed the ruling of the Supreme Court, describing it as a vindication of their position that the voters’ register is incurably flawed and not credible.

Addressing students of the Accra Polytechnic in Accra hours after last Thursday’s ruling, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, running mate to Nana Akufo-Addo, also mentioned how vindicated the NPP feels with the ruling from a seven-member Supreme Court panel, chaired by the Chief Justice, Georgina Wood.

But Nana Asante Bediatuo, said his clients – Abu Ramadan and Evans Nimako – did not seek the deletion of names of persons who registered with NHIA card, but it sought the deletion of ineligible persons from the roll, and that is what the court has granted.

The Supreme Court last Thursday, ordered the EC to delete from the electoral roll, names of persons who have not established qualification to be on the register. This included, deceased persons, minors, and persons who registered with NHIA cards.

Some have argued the court did not order the removal of names of persons who registered with the NHIA cards from the electoral roll.

The EC in its response after receiving a certified copy of the judgement said amongst other things that it would use the exhibition process to clean the register.

The Commission, noted that in accordance with the provisions of CI 91, Registered Voters will be given the opportunity to verify their registration details at all polling centres nationwide with the use of verification machines.

But the lawyer said, the exhibition processes that the EC intends to use would not be enough to clean the register as ordered by the court.

In his view, “all of us should show up and all of us should use the verification to verify our presence and then establish our eligibility to remain on the register. Otherwise, the process that they describe I’m afraid will not end up removing ineligible people unless it is mandatory of all of us (Ghanaians).”

He indicated that if someone registered with an NHIA card and does not show up at the exhibition centres, then their names will still be on the roll.

The EC, has meanwhile in a statement, assured the general public that it was committed to cleaning the country’s electoral roll.

This was contained in a statement signed by a Deputy Chairman in Charge of Operations, Mr. Amadu Sulley, disclosed that the EC, has received a certified copy of the Supreme Court judgment on the case which was brought by Abu Ramadan and Evans Nimako and is studying the judgement and its implications for an audit process long agreed with the Inter-Party Advisory Committee meeting held on Friday March 18, 2016.

The EC’s statement said “the Commission has received its certified copy of the Supreme Court judgment in the case of “Abu Ramadan & Evans Nimako vrs The Electoral Commission & Attorney General”.

“The Commission has taken note of the Court’s orders regarding the cleaning of the existing Biometric Voters Register. We wish to assure the general public that prior to the ruling by the Supreme Court, the Commission had discussed the roadmap for cleaning the register with the political parties at the Inter-Party Advisory Committee meeting held on Friday March 18, 2016”.

It continued that “at that meeting, it was agreed as follows and subject to the then pending Supreme Court ruling that the audit process as outlined by the Commission, was inclusive, transparent, and within the remit of the law”.

It was also agreed “that the audit of the Biometric Voter’s Register will take place during the scheduled exhibition period after the limited Voter Registration exercise”.

The EC statement further explained that “…the audit will involve removal of deceased registered voters, removal of multiple registrations (with the help of the AFIS software), removal of alleged minors and non-Ghanaians based on the production of evidence”.

It added “that in accordance with the provisions of C.I. 91, Registered Voters will be given the opportunity to verify their registration details at all polling centres nationwide” adding “that the Commission will use the Biometric Verification devices during the exhibition period for verification of registered voters”.

However, in the light of the recent Supreme Court ruling, the Commission is studying the judgement and its implications on the audit mechanisms outlined above and the implications for registered voters who registered with National Health Insurance Cards. The Commission will make its views on the matter known in due course.

The Commission reiterates its respect for the Apex Court and its commitment to continue to abide with the laws of Ghana and the rulings of the Supreme Court.

Further, the Commission believes that the credibility of elections depends on a clean voters register. Therefore all steps will be taken in line with existing law to ensure that the final register is clean and credible before the general elections on November 7.

Meanwhile, in furtherance of its commitment to transparency, the Commission has published the full judgment of the Supreme Court on its website here: http://www.ec.gov.gh/resources/downloads/general-information/10-supreme-court-verdict.html

Addressing the media after the ruling, Convener of the LMVCA, David Asante, said the EC, must hasten the process to implement the ruling Supreme Court given the limited time to the November polls.

“The Supreme court has finally spoken on the issue of the integrity of the electoral register. And we believe this confirms our long held position on the matter that the register is incurably flawed.

“So we going to sit comfortably to watch the EC and how they are going to go about an interesting process. But we’re happy with the ruling of the apex court of the land,” Asante said.

Dr. Bawumia, had told the students of the Accra Polytechnic “today, the Supreme Court finally ruled that in fact the voters’ register is not a credible register. We have said this for a long time so we expect the Electoral Commission to very quickly and immediately put together modalities for addressing this issue and removing the names of all the categories specified by the Supreme Court.”

He further charged the EC to ensure that the ruling is fully adhered to, adding “I think whichever way you look at it, if you are going to do this in a most efficient way, you probably will need a new register,” he added.

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