The Member of Parliament for Esikadu, Hon. Joe Ghartey has been slapped with a fine of GHc4,000 by the Sekondi High Court in an election petition case filed by Dr. Grace Ayensu Dankwa.
Lead counsel for Hon. Joe Ghartey, Lawyer Frank Davies prayed the court to strike out the application on grounds that it lacked merit.
At the first sitting of the court on March 16, 2021, Lawyer Frank Davies among other things argued that the petition was signed by the petitioner’s lawyer instead of herself.
At the second sitting on March 23, 2021, the presiding Judge on the case, His Lordship Justice Dr. Richmond Osei Hwere struck out the application, on the basis that the arguments made by Frank Davies was untenable.
According to the judge, lawyers act as clients and they have all the right to sign petitions on their behalf and that election petitions are in different forms.
With this ruling, the MP was fined an amount of GHc 4,000 by the court, which is yet to communicate the next date for hearing of the case.
The ruling by the court was very welcome news to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) who were filled with joy.
The Communications Director of the NDC, Mr. Kirk Mensah indicated that the fine is a clear indication that Hon. Joe Ghartey did not win the election on fair grounds, and thereby expressed gratitude to the court for such judicious ruling.
But the Deputy Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Western Region, Mr. Rex Johnfia urged his colleagues in the NDC to keep calm since the case isn’t over yet, but only just about to begin.
Facts of the case
It will be recalled that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Parliamentary Candidate for Essikado-Ketan in the December 7, 2020 parliamentary election, Professor Grace Ayensu-Danquah, filed a petition at the Sekondi High Court to challenge the parliamentary results announced by the Electoral Commission (EC) on December 9, 2020.
The petitioner prayed the High Court to ask the First Respondent, Hon. Joe Ghartey, who was the parliamentary candidate then in the said election and a sitting Member of Parliament (MP) for Essikado-Ketan, and the second respondent, the EC, to explain the late introduction of strange ballot boxes at the collation centre in the night, which compromised the pink sheets from the polling stations.
The petitioner further alleged that steps were taken by the second respondent to cover up the said illegal acts by altering declared polling station results and tampering with Biometric Verification Devices (BVDs) used at some polling stations, while others could not be found or accounted for.
The petitioner was, therefore, demanding a full and accurate auditing of all relevant BVDs used in the constituency for the 2020 parliamentary elections.