Friday, January 30, 2009

Court adjourns NPP candidate’s petition on December 7 result

An Accra Fast Track Court on Friday adjourned to February 10, the hearing of an election petition brought before it by Mr Francis Kojo Smith, New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary candidate for Ablekuma South, in the December 7 election.
     Mr Smith, who is also an Accra legal practitioner, is challenging the result in the constituency which declared Mr Fritz Baffour, National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate, the winner.
     In his petition filed on his behalf by Mr James Hughes, the defeated NPP candidate is praying the court to declare the electoral results by the Electoral Commission (EC) null and void.
     Mr Smith is further praying the court to place a perpetual injunction restraining Mr. Baffour from holding himself as the elected Member of Parliament (MP) for the Ablekuma South.
     Furthermore, Mr Smith is asking the court to order a recount of the ballot because, in his view, the election was plagued by a series of irregularities and malpractices which tilted the results to the advantage of Mr Baffour.
     In a supporting affidavit to his motion paper, Mr Smith claims that out of a total of 140 polling stations in the constituency, he won maximum votes in over 72 polling stations, which, in his view, had higher voter turn-out than those he lost.
     According to Mr Smith, the returning officer declared a total of 50,879 votes for him, while that of Mr Baffour stood at 56,152 votes.
     Mr Smith alleged that these figures were based on wrong and fraudulent computations, because the certified figures by the EC were not the true reflection of those collated by his polling agents.
     When the case came up for hearing on Friday, Mr James Quarshie-Idun, counsel for the EC, informed the court that the Commission had been served with a copy of the suit filed by Mr Smith.
     The case was first fixed for hearing on January 16, but on that day, the court learnt that the EC had not been served.
     Consequently, Mr Justice K. A. Ofori-Atta, the presiding judge, ordered counsel for Mr Smith, to ensure that the Commission was served, and consequently adjourned the matter to Friday.
     Mr Samuel Cudjoe, counsel for Mr Baffour, was in court with a counter motion to strike out the substantive one filed by Mr Hughes on behalf of Mr Smith.
     Therefore, on February 10, the court will determine the merits or otherwise of Mr Cudjoe's counter motion, before considering whether to look into the substantive matter.

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