Supreme Court to rule on reopening of Petitioner’s case today

The Supreme Court, has fixed Tuesday, February 16, 2021, to deliver its ruling on former President John Dramani Mahama’s motion for leave to re-open his case in the ongoing Election Petition Trial.

The Court fixed the date after it had heard from lawyers for the parties in the trial.

Moving the motion for leave to re-open the Petitioner’s case, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, lead Counsel, prayed the Court to also grant him leave to treat Mrs Jean A. Mensa, as a hostile witness, if she were to mount the witness box.

Mr Tsikata contended that Mrs Mensa ought to be held accountable for her constitutional duties she performed in relation to the Constitution.

“They should tell the world how she acted on her stewardship based on the Constitution” Mr Tsikata argued.

Mr Tsikata contended that the issue of vote padding affected the rights of the people in declaration of election results hence the Electoral Commission chairperson should vindicate herself by mounting the witness box.

He said for instance, the issue surrounding the ‘Form 13’ prepared by the EC, must be clarified.

Mr Tsikata held that none of the points in the affidavit of the EC Boss had provided “justification for them not to be allowed to open our case.”

“In the interest of achieving substantial justice, allow us to re-open our case,” Mr Tsikata prayed the Court.

Mr Justine Amenuvor, lead Counsel for the EC, opposed to the application, saying, the Petitioner in making depositions in his affidavit did not assign appropriate reasons for the Court to grant the Petitioner’s motion.

Mr Amenuvor prayed the seven-member panel not to allow the Petitioner, who had “competent lawyers” patch up his case with fresh evidence.

He was of the opinion that the Petitioner’s motion constituted an abuse of the court processes and same should be dismissed because the motion was not grounded on the rule of law or procedures of the Court.

Mr Amenuvor said the grant of the motion of the Petitioner would amount to opening the floodgates for other such interventions.

He said Ghana’s legal system was based on adversarial system and even a look at the title of the Petitioner’s motion warranted a dismissal of the motion.

Mr Akoto Ampaw, lead Counsel of the Second Respondent, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, argued that the question of burden of proof was fundamental, adding that, to date, the Petitioner had failed to make a case.

“This application is an attempt to call further evidence,” Mr Ampaw argued.

He said the case was about votes and numbers and that, “there’s nothing about the alleged engagements of the Petitioner’s witnesses with the EC Boss.”

Mr Ampaw said counsel for the Petitioner should have anticipated that the respondents could use the evasion of cross-examination strategy because same was allowed in law.

Mr Ampaw said the Petitioner’s motion for leave constituted, “an attempt to call for further evidence.”

On February 11, this year, the Supreme Court, unanimously dismissed an application of the Petitioner seeking the court to compel the two respondents in the Election 2020 Trial to mount the witness box.

The Court held that under the law, the two respondents could not be compelled to testify in a trial.

The Petitioner, however, held that in the interest of the public, the EC chairperson should testify in the matter.

Mr Mahama is in court challenging the validity of the declaration of Nana Addo, the second respondent, as the winner of the 2020 Elections.

He further accused the EC of vote padding, but the EC had denied the assertion.

The Petitioner called three witnesses and after their testimony closed his case. The EC and Nana Addo after analysing the petitioner’s case chose not to open their defence on the bases that the petitioner has failed to discharge its burden of proof.

The Supreme Court has, however, ordered lawyers of all the parties to simultaneously file their closing addresses by Wednesday February 17.

Source: GNA

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