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Justice BanksWhen complainants in a suit seeking to determine whether or not the National Elections Commission (NEC) has the authority to certificate winners of the recent senatorial election, they would be hoping that the Justice –in-Chambers rules in their favor.

 

As it stands, within a matter of hours, Justice –In-Chambers Philip A.Z. Banks will decide whether or not the petition has any legal merit or would be thrown through the windows of the court.

Arguments into the petition were heard Monday, but the Chamber Justice could not rule into the matter because he needed to study the case and return with a ruling that is supported by the statutes and other legal instruments.

Justice Banks, who presided over the prohibition hearing, promised to rule into the matter within 24 hours which began at 6 p.m. Monday.

He informed the parties yesterday that he was not looking into irregularities and election fraud but rather NEC's decision to certificate the winners in the face of protest from other candidates.

One of the lawyers for the ruling Unity Party, representing Cllr. Varney Sherman and Cllr. Morris Saytumah, Cllr. Frederick Cherue told the court  that Article 83 (c) of the 1986 Constitution gives NEC the statutory mandate to announce election result within 15 days after the casting of ballot.

Cllr. Cherue, an outgoing senator of Rivergee County, who opted not to seek re-election, said the certification of candidates by the NEC qualifies them as winners.

Cherue explained that the law provides that any aggrieved party has the right to file a complaint within 7 days and that NEC should conduct investigation within 30 days.

Recently, the Supreme Court issued a stay order requesting NEC to place a hold on the certification of Cllr. Varney Sherman, Morris Saytumah and other individual. The stay order was prompted by a petition filed by Dr. Fodee Kromah, the CDC candidate who ended as runners-up in the Grand Cape Mount contest to Cllr. Sherman. Kromah is requesting recount of the ballots even though he accumulated a skimpy 3,431 votes representing 15.5% while Sherman received 13, 651 votes representing 61.7%.