Executive Director for Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA), Mensah Thompson

The Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) says there has been a travesty of justice after the President dismissed their petition to impeach Madam Jean Mensa, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC).

Speaking on Newsnight on Joy FM, the Executive Director, Mensa Thompson, said due process was not followed to have their petition and grievances heard before President Akufo-Addo’s decision was made.

“We filed the petition with the Presidency and the matter was supposed to be referred to the Chief Justice. For the past two months we never heard it was referred to the Chief Justice,” he stated.

Mr Thompson added that the Chief Justice upon receiving the petition is obliged by the constitution to set up a committee to investigate the issue and the petitioners called before the committee.

He stated that ASEPA had written to the Chief Justice to find out if the petition was indeed referred to them but only received a response in the affirmative on August 13.

However, ASEPA says it has not received any formal letter from the Presidency in response to their petition after reviewing the Chief Justice’s report, he added.

Mr Thompson stated the think tank was only notified of the President’s decision via a Facebook post by the Director of Communication at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin.

“The question we are asking is Facebook now the official medium where the Presidency responds to petitions or official documents that have been sent to it? I think Eugene Arhin the director of communication has not respected the people of this country,” he added.

In June, ASEPA secured a declaration from the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) that Mrs Mensa failed to declare her assets on assumption of office in 2018.

On this basis the governance think tank petitioned President Akufo-Addo to remove Jean Mensa as Electoral Commission Chair.

The group insisted that violation of the asset declaration clause in Article 286 of the 1992 constitution constitutes stated misbehaviour which is grounds for removal of the referee for Ghana’s elections.

President Akufo-Addo on August 13 has dismissed the petition indicating that the Chief Justice did not establish any prima facae against the head of the country’s elections management body.

“The Chief Justice did not find any statute that criminalises the non-declaration of assets within the stipulated time in the Constitution,” read the statement released by the Presidency.

However, Mr Thompson stated that the Chief Justice does not have the moral and legal capacity make the pronouncement he did in his response to the President on the petition without a committee hearing.

Meanwhile, Lawyer Samson Lardy Anyenini says since there was no prima facia case made by the Chief Justice against the EC, a committee cannot be set up.

He stated that if the prima facae had been made, the law gives the go ahead for a five member committe made up of the three justices of the superior court and two appointed by the Chief Justice.

“Once the chief justice has taken your petition and made a determination that there is no prima facia case it means a committee cannot be set up.”