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Supreme Court adjourns contempt case against Bernard Mornah to July 21

The Supreme Court has adjourned the contempt application against the Chairman of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Bernard A. Mornah to July 21, 2020.

Court correspondent Murtala Inusah reports that the court did not sit but the Registrar was in court to adjourn the cases. All other cases scheduled for today were adjourned.

Mr Monah has been cited for contempt after he allegedly encouraged Ghanaians to disregard a Supreme Court order for the Electoral Commission to compile a new voters’ register pursuant to C.I 126 which excluded the old voters’ ID cards as a basis for identification.

The contempt application at the apex court by the Deputy Attorney General, (AG), Godfred Yeboah Dame, alleges that the PNC Chairman called on Ghanaians to go out there with their old voters’ cards if it is the only form of identification they have and demand their right to be registered.

It was the case of the Deputy AG that the comment by the contemnor blatantly contradicts the express orders of the court for the old cards to be excluded from the list of documents for identification.

The AG per the suit is urging the court to commit Mr Mornah to prison to serve as a deterrent and maintain trust and dignity in the highest court of the land.

Mornah’s comments

The PNC Chairman is said to have called for a resistance against the decision of the EC to compile a new register for the 2020 presidential and parliamentary election.

Mr Mornah, who is the convenor of a body styled as the Inter-Party Resistance Against the New Voters’ Register (IPRAN), had said at a press conference that he will resist every attempt by the EC to compile the new register and even when the Supreme Court disqualified the old voters’ identity cards from the compilation of a new register, he was adamant.

“People who are already Ghanaians are already registered are going to be taken out of the voters’ register. Don’t think confusion will come at the registration station and if confusion comes there, you think the EC staff will be safe, we will beat each other there and, we will kill each other there if that is what the EC wants to lead this nation to.”

He was later invited by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service over the threat.

What the SC said

A seven-member panel of the apex court on June 25, 2020 affirmed the ECs move not to accept the old voters’ cards and birth certificates as a proof of eligibility of an applicant for the compilation of the new voters’ register, which has since commenced.

The panel presided over by the Chief Justice, in a unanimous decision, also ordered the EC to compile a new register pursuant to Constitutional Instrument 126 (C.I. 126) which was passed by Parliament.

The court subsequently ordered all stakeholders and Ghanaians eligible to vote to comply with Articles 42 and 45 of the Constitution and C.I 126 in the compilation of the new register.

Contempt suit

After the decision of the Supreme Court, Mr Mornah urged Ghanaians to go out to the various registration centres with their old voters’ ID cards and demand to be registered if that is the only form of identification they have.

“Get your voters’ ID card, if it is the only identification document you can find and march in your numbers and in multitudes to the registration centres to demand the restoration of your right to citizenship and your inalienable right bestowed on you by virtue of your birth and by courtesy of the 1992 Constitution,” Mr. Mornah was said to have encouraged the public despite explicit orders of the court.

The AG’s Department is averring that Mr. Mornah by this admonished Ghanaians to act in disobedience of the explicit orders of the Supreme Court of Ghana.

Mr Dame averred that Mr Mornah by virtue of this statement accused the Supreme Court of denying Ghanaians of their right to citizenship and their inalienable right, thereby courting contempt and disaffection for the court.

He further argued that this act by the respondent “is calculated at bringing the authority of a court of competent jurisdiction into disrepute, and in the event, ultimately interfere with and obstruct the due administration of justice.

“The conduct of the respondent was clearly intended to subvert the judgment of this honourable court and same was out of disrespect for the court authority under the Constitution,” Mr. Dame stated.

He added that “the respondent’s wilful conduct as aforesaid is calculated at bringing the authority of a court of competent jurisdiction into disrepute, and in the event, ultimately interfere with and obstruct the due administration of justice.”

“That respondent’s disregard of the authority of this court makes him liable to be committed to prison in order to vindicate the undoubted authority of the court,” he added.

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