On the 8 October 2018, the Constitutional Court handed down its decision in Thake et vs Electoral Commission et after the plaintiff political party filed a case arguing that the functions of the Electoral Commission (‘the Commission’) as an investigator and judicial authority with the power to impose substantial fines violates the right to a fair hearing because the Commission is not a court. The Court observed that despite the powers granted to the Commission to investigate and penalise a political party when it breaches the law, it remains subject to the scrutiny of the fundamental rights protected by the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights. This is especially so when the administrative fine imposed by the Commission has the nature of the criminal penalty which falls within the remit of Article 39(1) of the Constitution.In this regard, in terms of Article 39 of the Constitution, the allegation of a criminal offence has to be heard, from the commencement of proceedings, solely by a court and not by any other judicial organ.
You can read a more detailed article on this case here.
This document does not purport to give legal, financial or tax advice. Should you require further information or legal assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Mamo TCV Advocates.