High Court Dismisses ROPAA Contempt Application Against EC Chairperson, Jean Mensa

An Accra High Court, Financial Court 1 presided over by Justice Ellen Vivian Amoah, has dismissed yet another contempt application against the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs Jean Mensa, which prayed the Court to commit her for contempt of Court over what the applicants claimed was an intentional refusal on her part and other Commissioners to implement the Representation of the Peoples Amendment Act (ROPAA).

Prior to the ruling of the Court today(Thursday), the 11th of July, 2019, the EC Chairperson, Mrs Jean Mensa deposed to an affidavit in opposition to the Motion on Notice for Committal for contempt by Kofi A. Boateng(PHD) and four others where she said "on 18th December, 2017, the High Court, Human Rights Division, presided over by His Lordship Anthony K. Yeboah, J (as he then was) gave judgment for the operationalization of Act 699 by the Electoral Commission of Ghana within 12 months reckoned from 1st January, 2018".

"I say again that, as part of the consequential orders, the Honourable Court made an order that, in the event that the Commissioners or the Electoral Commission of Ghana, for any legitimate reason have been unable to comply with the orders of the court, the Commission shall publish within 30 days of the expiry of the 12 calendar months, for the information of the public, the reasons for their failure to so comply".

The affidavit continued, "I say that, at the time of the Judgment therein in 2017, I was not the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission. I was subsequently appointed in July 2018 as the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission and I was not immediately seized with the necessary orders of the Court in operationalizing Act 699 upon my appointment".

"I say yet again that, having been seized with the orders of the court after my appointment in July 2018, and ensuring that steps are taken in complying with the orders of the Court, I through my lawyers filed an application for extension of time within which the operationalization of Act 699 would take place and in the said application I stated the reasons for the Electoral Commission’s inability to comply with the timelines set out in the judgment of the court referred to above. Attached marked Exhibit JAM 1 is a copy of the application for extension of time filed on 30th January, 2019".

Mrs Jean Mensa denied that, "in the performance of my official duties as the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Ghana, I have acted willfully with the view to bring the administration of justice into disrepute or disregard. Save as herein before admitted, I deny each and every allegation of fact contained in the applicant’s affidavit in support of this application as if the same as been set out in extensor and denied seriatim".

Justice Vivian Amoah's Court did not give reasons immediately for the dismissal but asked the parties to apply to obtain the reasons for the decision to dismiss the application.

On the issue of cost, the Court gave no order as to cost because it said it did not want to deter citizens from coming to Court to challenge state functionaries.

Lawyer Samson Lardy Ayenini represented the Applicants, while Justin Agbeli Amenuvor represented the Electoral Commission and the Commissioners.