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Petitioner, EC and 2nd Respondent closes their case in Election 2020 Petition trial

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The Electoral Commission (EC) on Monday said it has closed its case in the ongoing election 2020 petition trial at the Supreme Court.

This follows the petitioner closing its case on Monday after its third witness was discharged by the court.

Meanwhile, Mr Akoto Ampaw Counsel for the Second Respondent also indicated that; “we do not intend to call any witnesses to satisfy the burden of proof”.

Which incidentally means that the second Respondent has also virtually closed its case as well.

This in effect means that EC Chairperson, Mrs Jean Mensa would not be in the witness box to be cross examined by the Petitioner’s lawyers and that the court would only consider her witness statement which was before it.

The petition was triggered when the former President John Dramani Mahama invoked the Court’s jurisdiction over the results of the 2020 Presidential election, which the EC declared Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the winner.

Justine Amenuvor, Counsel for the EC said, there was sufficient evidence before the court after the petitioner had called in three witnesses and closed its case.

Quoting the Court’s Rules and Constitutional Instrument (CI) 87, Mr Amenuvor said “we close our case. We are not calling any witnesses, we wish to rely on our witness statement filed by the first respondent (EC).”

Counsel for the Petitioner, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata said he needed to understand the argument of the counsel for the EC.

According to Mr Tsikata, Counsel for the EC did not have it open to him to take the course he had just proposed to the apex court.

Mr Tsikata said the first respondent (EC) could not evade cross examination, adding that the course taken by the EC did not form part of case management during trials.

He admitted that the issue before the court was a new terrain and urged the Supreme Court to educate him (Mr Tsikata) if he was wrong.

He said the EC elected to give evidence and gave a statement to that effect and wondered how the Commission could abandon that course.

The seven member panel of the Supreme Court asked Mr Tsikata as to whether a party in a matter could compel another party to give evidence.

According to the court compelling a witness to testify was a human right issue.

The court was of the view that a party in matter could decide to call five to six witnesses even before trial commences but in end, that party could call only three.

The Supreme Court therefore adjourned the matter to Tuesday February 9, to enable the lawyers to make legal arguments over the EC and second respondent’s decline to call witnesses to mount the dock to be cross examined, after which the court will give its verdict.

Initially the first and second respondent had indicated to the court that they will call a witness each, while the petitioner had indicated that it will also call five witnesses, but ended up calling only three.

Meanwhile the Petitioner, Mr John Dramani Mahama’s third witness and a member of a team who was present at the EC’s strong room, Mr Robert Joseph Mettle Nunoo has been discharged by the Supreme Court after he was cross examined by lawyers of the two respondents via zoom.

Johnson Asiedu Nketia, General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Dr Michael Kpessa-Whyte, a member of the NDC have been cross-examined after filing their witness statements for the Petitioner.

Mr Mahama is in court challenging the validity of the December 7, 2020 election which declared Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as winner of the polls.

He also accused the EC of vote padding but that assertion had been denied by the EC.

Source: GNA

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