July 6, 2020

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Halting NIA registration will affect voters’ register compilation – Deputy AG tells court

The Deputy Attorney General is urging an Accra High Court to allow the National Identification Authority (NIA) to continue with its Ghana Card registration exercise.

In a statement of case filed on behalf of the AG’s office, Godfred Yeboah Dame argues the Ghana card will be needed in the upcoming voter registration exercise.

This he explains means a halt on the exercise will result in “irremediable harm which can never be occasioned by the respondents by the grant of this application”.

Two citizens Mark Oliver Kevor and Emmanuel Okrah are in court asking that the NIA be stopped from carrying out its registration exercise.

They maintain the exercise is contrary to the social distancing directives issued by President Akufo-Addo in the wake of the COVID-19 cases recorded in Ghana.

The High Court presided over by Justice Daniel Mensah on March 23 granted a similar request filed by Prince Tabi and 29 others.

This injunction is to be in force for the next 10 days.

The NIA has since Saturday morning called of its exercise citing the application filed by Kevor and others.

The AG’s office which is joined as a defendant in this action has filed two applications in court. The first is asking the court to hear the injunction motion filed by the two citizens earlier than usual. The other wants the court to dismiss the application.

The Deputy AG in documents filed argues the two citizens have no legal or equitable right that could be asserted in law.

He also states that the balance of convenience tilts in favour of the NIA. He explains that the Ghana card will be used as a source of identification for voters to be registered by the EC.

He concluded that point by saying “greater inconvenience and hardship will be caused by restraint of the statutory functions of the NIA in the circumstances”.

He adds that the NIA officials have so far been strictly observing social distancing and personal hygiene protocols as directed by the President.

The final point advanced by the Deputy AG relates to whether damages adequately compensate the NIA in the event the court eventually rules in its favour in the substantive case.

Mr Dame argues the harm to be suffered by the NIA is “irremediable”.

He insists the two citizens have failed to show how their rights have been violated.

He concludes, “It is our respectful submission that the respondents have clearly made out a case for the court’s discretion to be exercised in their Favour by the refusal of the instant application”.

The application is to be heard on Thursday, March 26, 2020.

Source: JoyNews