After a tense standoff at the headquarters of the Electoral Commission in Accra, Thursday, lead counsel for 18-year-old Precious Ayittah who has sued the EC for contempt, says the commission leaves them with no choice but to proceed with their next legal action.
On Thursday, security personnel at the EC prevented court bailiffs from serving legal documents on the EC commissioners.
Security officers stationed at the premises claimed that they had received specific instructions to deny access to anyone until next week.
This makes it the third day since the commissioners have in a bizarre manner, evaded service.
“They are not admitting anybody into the EC premises. That is the message we have been getting. They have told us that if we want to serve anybody we have to call the person personally, for the person to either come out to come and receive the process,” one of the lawyers who accompanied the bailiffs told JoyNews.
Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo, the lead counsel for the plaintiff says this is the clearest indication that the EC is intentionally evading service of the court documents despite statements by Deputy Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Serebour Quaicoe suggesting their availability.
“I am happy that this morning, Joy FM has settled this debate about whether Dr. Serebour was speaking the truth to Ghanaians yesterday when he boldly told everybody on your network that there were no attempts to hinder the service of court processes on the Electoral Commission. I hope Ghanaians have been able to tell who was speaking the truth and who was lying through his teeth,” he said.
Precious Ayittah had dragged the EC to court to compel them to widen the scope of their Limited Voters’ Registration, citing the inaccessibility of the district offices of the Electoral Commission.
The EC has faced a backlash from several political parties including the major opposition party, the National Democratic Congress and other civil society organisations like CODEO who argue that the high cost of travelling to the district offices will put many young Ghanaians off and thus disenfranchise them.
While Precious Ayittah had successfully secured an injunction against the EC, the EC on September 12 commenced the exercise in spite of the injunction at their district offices.
The EC has since been dodging the service of court documents seeking to cite them for contempt of court.
Speaking on Top Story, Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo, said now that the legally required number of attempts of service have been exhausted, he and his team will be heading back to court to seek a court order to serve them by substituted service.
“Now having settled that debate – the law requires that we are to attempt to serve them three times. That’s the minimum number of times. And once we are not able to serve them then we have to take the next step which is to go back to the court and seek a court order to serve them by substituted service.
“The court will prescribe the mode of service and so we have taken the necessary steps and very, very soon, sooner than later, we should be able to obtain the necessary orders from the court and proceed,” he said.
He emphasised that “Madam Jean Mensa is not going to escape accountability and this process we will ensure is respected.”
“Madam Jean Mensa is seeking to avoid the service of the contempt application because she knows the implication of being served with a contempt application and still proceeding on the very same thing that she’s going to be held in contempt for. So we’re satisfied in our mind that once we obtain the service order in respect of the contempt application everything will come to a standstill so let’s keep our fingers crossed,” he added.