The Supreme Court of Ghana, in a unanimous decision, has dismissed an application by former President John Mahama in the ongoing election petition in which he prayed the apex court to grant him access to inspect documents of the Electoral Commission regarding the presidential results of the 2020 polls.
The panel of Justices, after arguments from Mr Mahama’s lead counsel Tsatsu Tsikata and counter-arguments from the lead counsel of the first and second respondents, respectively, ruled that the former President had not demonstrated the amount of necessity needed to grant such a request.
The presidential candidate of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), who is the petitioner in the case, filed the application on Tuesday.
So far, Mr Mahama, who is challenging the validity of the 2020 presidential results, has had two of his witnesses – Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, General Secretary of the NDC; and Dr Michael Kpessa-Whyte, who served as an observation agent of the party – appear before the court to give evidence and get cross-examined.
Mr Mahama, through his legal team led by Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, wanted access to the EC’s original constituency presidential election result collation forms for all constituencies, constituency presidential election results summary sheet, regional presidential election summary sheets for all regions, and the declaration of the presidential results form.
Mr Mahama filed the application after the EC turned down his earlier requests to that end.
Among other things, Mr Tsikata argued in court on Wednesday, 3 February 2021 that the documents were required for a fair hearing and wondered what the EC could be hiding by its refusal to release them for inspection.
In his view, it was in the interest of the EC for the documents to be released if it truly believed in transparency.
However, Mr Amenuvor, lead counsel for the EC, first respondent, raised issues with the timing of the request and said the Petitioner was resorting to the request to aid him to adduce further evidence but said evidence cannot be led in a piecemeal manner.
He also wondered why the Petitioner would make such a request when he had all the duplicate copies of the documents in question.
Similarly, Mr Akoto Ampaw, lead counsel for President Nana Akufo-Addo, the second respondent, told the court that the “Petitioner was using the right to a fair hearing to conjure away the burden of proof” since, according to him, he had all the carbon copies of the documents he wanted to request.
Both counsel for the two respondents insisted that the Petitioner’s application did not meet the necessity requirement.