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You didn't give us fresh evidence on why you want to reopen your case - Supreme Court to Mahama

BY: Kweku Zurek

The Supreme Court has dismissed an application by former President John Dramani Mahama, seeking the permission of the court to reopen his case to enable his lawyers to subpoena the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs Jean Mensa to appear before the court and testify as a “hostile witness” in the 2020 Presidential Election Petition.

In a ruling today (February 16, 2021), the seven-member panel of the Supreme Court in a unanimous ruling said the petitioner (Mr Mahama) had not given it an inkling of the new evidence he wants to bring to the court and how the evidence would assist the court. The apex Court also added that the petitioner did not also disclose how the evidence would advance the course of his petition.

"As we've already indicated in this ruling supra, the petitioner in this application has not given us an inkling of the new or fresh evidence that he wants to bring to the fore through the Chairperson of the first respondent and how that evidence could assist the court to do justice in the matters under consideration in this petition, neither has he disclosed how that evidence would advance the course of his petition," the court said in the ruling read by the Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah.

"For the above-stated reasons, we find no merit whatsoever in the petitioner's application to reopen his case for the sole purpose of compelling his adversary's intended witness to testify through a subpoena without indicating the sort of evidence he intends to solicit from the said witness and how that evidence is going to help the court in resolving the dispute before us. We accordingly refuse the application and proceed without any hesitation to dismiss him".

After the ruling, the lead counsel for the petitioner, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata informed the court that he intends to file for a 'stay of proceedings' pending the determination of an application filed today (February 16) for a review of the February 11 ruling by the court.

It will be recalled that the Supreme Court on February 11, 2021, overruled the objection raised by the counsel of the petitioner to order the Chairperson of Electoral Commission to mount the witness box in the ongoing 2020 President Election Petition.

The hearing has been adjourned to Thursday, February 18, 2021.

Petitioner’s case

In his petition, former President Mahama contended that no candidate won the 2020 presidential election and, therefore, the declaration of President Akufo-Addo as the winner of the election by Mrs Mensa was “null, void, unconstitutional and of no legal effect”.

He argued that as per the results announced by Mrs Mensa on December 9, 2020, no candidate garnered more than 50 per cent of the total valid votes cast, as required by Article 63(3) of the 1992 Constitution.

Former President Mahama, therefore, wants the Supreme Court to declare the declaration on December 9, 2020 as null and void and also order the EC to conduct a run-off between him and President Akufo-Addo.

Respondents’ answers

In their answers, President Akufo-Addo and the EC argued that the petition was incompetent, lacked merit and raised no reasonable cause of action.

It is their contention that the petition did not even meet the requirement of a presidential election petition, as stipulated in Article 64 (1) of the 1992 Constitution, and was, therefore, incompetent.

That, they argued, was because the petition made no allegation of infractions in the election at any of the 38,622 polling stations and 311 special voting centres.