By CHARLES MOI
THE Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC) has filed an application seeking to be a party to a court case relating to proposed increases in fees for nomination and election petition.
In a reference filed by the Ombudsman Commission, it seeks court clarification on the legality of proposed bills on the K10,000 nomination fee (increased from K1000) and the cost of lodging an election petition of K20,000 (increased from K5000).
Lawyer Greg Manda, representing the CLRC, appeared before Justice Stephen Kassman in the Supreme Court yesterday and advised about his client’s interest to join the case.
Manda said he needed more time to prepare his application to intervene. Lawyer Dr Vergil Narokobi, representing the Ombudsman Commission, told the court that he had also filed an application to amend his client’s reference.
Justice Kassman ordered parties to return to court on Tuesday to hear arguments on both applications.
The court then ordered first intervener Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to file an affidavit to formally state his position in both applications.
It also ordered the Ombudsman Commission to serve the court’s directions to other interested parties – Speaker of Parliament, Attorney-General and Electoral Commissioner.
The Ombudsman Commission is seeking an opinion of the court on the constitutional validity of the two proposed laws in the form of bills to amend section 103 (2) of the Constitution and section 87 and section 209 of the Organic Law on National and Local Level Government Elections.
The bills have gone past two of three readings required to pass the Constitutional amendments and are awaiting the third and final reading which is to take place in the last sitting of this term of Parliament scheduled for later this month.
By CHARLES MOI