Election Petition: Supreme Court decides on EC Boss today

The Supreme Court will today, Thursday, February 11, 2021, decide on whether Mrs Jean A. Mensa, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, should be cross-examined by the Petitioner’s lawyer in the Election 2020 Petition Trial.

The Apex Court will also decide on the position of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, who also decided not to call a witness in the trial, after the Petitioner had closed his case.

Lawyers for the EC and President Akufo-Addo had indicated that they were not calling any witnesses in the trial after the Petitioner had called three witnesses and closed his case, though they had filed witness statements.

The Court, after hearing legal arguments from both sides, said it would give its ruling on the matter, today.

Mr Justine Amenuvor, lead Counsel for the EC cited Order 36 Rule 43 and Constitutional Instrument (CI) 87 rule 3 (e) 5, Section 62 subsection (2) of the Evidence Act to support his position.

Mr Amenuvor said the EC would not require further evidence to determine the matter before the Court after the Petitioner had closed his case.

He argued that it was the Petitioner who brought them to court, led evidence, and closed his case after calling three witnesses.

“We don’t think we have anything to say. If he has a good case, he should go ahead and be happy dancing. We prayed the Court to uphold our application.”

Mr Akoto Ampaw, lead Counsel for President Akufo-Addo, also associated himself with submissions made by the EC’s lawyer, arguing that the Petitioner’s Counsel’s arguments were “misconceived” and did address the thrust of their position.

Mr Ampaw was of the opinion that the stands of President Akufo-Addo worked in favour of the Petitioner.

He said under the English Law, a party could raise or notify the court that “it does not intend to adduce evidence in a trial” and the same should be done timeously.

Mr Ampaw said, “We are of the view that in the light of CI 37, we are entitled not to adduce evidence. The Petitioner could tender our witness statement as hearsay evidence.”

Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, lead Counsel for the Petitioner, Mr John Dramani Mahama, objected to the EC’s alleged “evasion of cross examination”, adding that Mrs Mensa who represented the EC, had made it known to the Court that she would be mounting the witness box to be cross examined.

Mr Tsikata said that the EC Chairperson explicitly stated that in her affidavit in opposition to the Petitioner’s stay of proceedings and the Petitioner’s application for interrogatories.

Based on that, Mr Tsikata urged the Court to compel the EC Boss to mount the witness box to be cross examined.

He held that the EC Boss, known as the Returning Officer of the 2020 Presidential Election, had constitutional obligations to perform by declaring the election results.

Mr Tsikata added that, “The EC Boss made representations to the Court and she cannot resign from those representations.”

The Counsel for the Petitioner argued that the EC Boss had carried out a particular responsibility of conducting election 2020 and she ought to render an account for that.

“Her account is to declare who won the mandate of the people and the same is captured in issue two of the issues set out by the court to be determined.”

Mr Tsikata stated that the EC’s withdrawal was an “affront to justice” and the same was not in accordance with the rules of the Court.

On Monday, February 8, this year, the Petitioner closed his case after calling three witnesses.

The witnesses were; Johnson Asiedu Nketia, the NDC General Secretary, Dr Michael Kpessa-Whyte and Mr Robert Joseph Mettle Nunoo, both members of the Party.

The EC Boss and President Akufo-Addo also closed their case, saying that, in view of the evidence adduced through the Petitioner’s witness, they would no longer call any witnesses.

Mr Mahama is in Court challenging the validity of the EC’s declaration of the winner of Election 2020 polls.

The Petitioner also accused the EC of vote padding but the EC had denied the assertion.