The Electoral Commission has gone back on its words as it accepts the GHC50,000 filing fees of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) on Friday.
The electoral body had a day before rejected that of about seven presidential candidates. The EC chairperson, Charlotte Osei told the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, who was first to submit his forms Thursday, that due to a pending court injunction, the commission is unable to accept the filing fees.
But to the surprise of many, when the Progressive People’s Party that first took the issue of filing fees to court brought its GH¢50,000 banker’s draft as the filing fees, the EC wholeheartedly received it.
Interestingly, the Chairman of the PPP Nii Allotey Brew Hammond, who submitted the presidential candidate’s forms in addition to the filing fees, was shocked by the readiness of the EC to receive the party’s filing fees.
Not able to accept fees
He later told journalists that though they paid the fees, they did not expect the EC to accept it just as was done to others.
“Offering it does not mean that they were to accept it. We do know that yesterday a presidential candidate offered to submit the payment for the fees but it was rejected.
“They were told that they (EC) could not accept or receive the filing fees, so I expected that the chair of the commission will indicate that she was not able to accept the fees,” he explained to 3news.com.
Based on a suit filed by the Progressive People’s Party on Wednesday, the court injuncted the filing fees process which the party claimed was illegal.
Asked why the PPP, despite the court process, went ahead to submit the filing fees, Mr. Brew Hammond said the party was only “complying” with a statement from Director of Communications at EC, Kofi Dzakpasu, about two days ago that nominees are to pay the filing fees.
He however acknowledged, “The injunction is that they should not accept and receive but now they have accepted and received…but they are not supposed to receive it.”
The PPP chairman added, “I actually asked that the fees should be given back, but the chairman objected giving back the fees.”
Nonetheless, he said the party went to court to challenge the discretionary powers of the EC. He cited Article 296 which makes it binding that “discretionary powers must be exercised with statutory instrument…where is the statutory instrument?”
100% filing fees
While presidential candidates are being asked to GH¢50,000, parliamentary candidates are to pay GH¢10,000.
Nii Allotey Brew Hammond said the GH¢50,000 for presidential candidates, which is 500 per cent from the GH¢10,000 paid by presidential candidates in the 2012 elections, is astronomical.
He said the party had wished that the increment should be a maximum of 100%.
The submission of nomination forms by presidential and parliamentary candidates for the 2016 general elections ends 5:00pm Friday September 30, 2016.
By Isaac Essel | 3news.com | Ghana