In a majority decision, the Supreme Court held that the Members of the Electoral Commission, Jean Mensa and Peter Mac Manu, should not be obliged to appear in the Election Petition case.
On Thursday, 11 February 2021, the supreme court made the decision on the back of an appeal submitted by Justine Amenuvor, lead counsel for the Electoral Commission, and Akoto Ampaw, President Akufo-Addo, demanding permission not to summon any witnesses.
Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, who read the decision, noted that the judges were not persuaded by the opposing claims made by the petitioner’s lead lawyer, Tsatsu Tsikata.
He also claimed that in the Election Petition case, they were granted restricted authority and that they did not wish to go outside that jurisdiction.
We are minded to state that our authority invoked in this petition for election is a narrow jurisdiction specifically established by statute. We do not wish to expand our mandate above what the law demands of us in those petitions brought in compliance with Article 64(1) bringing into question the legitimacy of the presidential election. Simply put, we are not persuaded, and we will not agree with the invitation given to us by the petitioner’s lawyer to order the respondents to enter the witness box for cross-examination.
Consequently, we hereby overrule the objection presented by the petitioner’s counsel against the respondents’ decision not to adduce proof in this petition,’ he continued.
The respondents’ counsel insisted that the petitioner’s testimony, John Dramani Mahama, does not fulfill the standard of proof, thus rendering it needless to put a witness to a counter case.
Mr. Amenovor relied on sub-rules 4 and 38 of Order 36, Rule 3(e)(1) and (5) of CI 47, as modified by CI 87, as the basis for his decision to close the case and not to call a witness.
He (Mr. Amenovor) indicated that other parties might regard the EC Chair’s witness statement as a “hearsay.”
Similarly, Akoto Ampaw, lead lawyer for President Nana Akufo-Addo, also announced that the 2020 Campaign Manager of the New Patriotic Party, Peter Mac Manu, will not take the witness box for cross-examination.
Mr. Ampaw argued that the plaintiff did not make a strong argument before the court, thus the decision to close the case.
Furthermore, he insisted that “the petitioner should be happy because his petition would be ruled on by his own evidence.”
But the petitioner’s lead lawyer, Tsatsu Tsikata, disagreed.
Therefore, Mr. Tsikata suspected Mrs. Mensa of having evaded cross-examination.
He demanded that a witness statement and affidavits be signed by Mrs. Jean Mensa, thereby constituting an election for adduced evidence.