I want to cross-examine petitioners' witnesses - Tsatsu

Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, lead counsel for the National Democratic CongressThe Supreme Court will, this morning, hear a motion by lead counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the ongoing presidential election petition seeking to cross-examine some witnesses of the petitioners whose testimonies have come by affidavits.

Before the court rose yesterday, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata told it that he had a motion pending and Mr Justice William Atuguba, the presiding judge, responded that motions were usually taken as first business of the court and must be considered before the substantive matter was called.

Details of the motion were not disclosed, but it was learnt that there were about three witnesses whom Mr Tsikata sought to cross-examine.

However, a  member of the legal team of the petitioners, Ms Gloria Akufo, said in an interview that the petitioners would contest the motion because they were opposed to it.

The court had directed that testimony shall be by affidavit in order to facilitate the trial.

By that mode of trial, witnesses had, in writing, addressed all questions that they would ordinarily have answered had they been dragged into the witness box.

Key witnesses, however, had been given special dispensation to appear in person to testify, which is why Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the star witness for the petitioners, is in the witness box.

Aside from that order, the court said whenever the necessary application was made to have witnesses who had sworn affidavits to appear in person, it would consider that.

It is in the light of this that Mr Tsikata is bringing the motion to cross-examine some of the witnesses for the petitioners who have sworn affidavits.

The court listened to the various arguments and it will deliver a ruling tomorrow before continuing with the substantive matter.

Meanwhile, the court yesterday adjourned the cross-examination of Dr Bawumia to enable the parties to sort out among themselves pink sheets with duplicated serial numbers.

That exercise will pave the way for Mr Tsikata to continue with his cross-examination.

Mr Tsikata, who was cross-examining the witness, had to truncate the exercise on the court’s resumption from lunch when it became apparent that he could not continue without the sorting out process, which would enable the parties to put the pink sheets in lots.

Counsel told the court that he had prepared a list of the pink sheets, but lead counsel for the petitioners, Mr Philip Addison, indicated that they were not ready to go through the list with them.

When Justice Atuguba told counsel that he could proceed with the cross-examination if there were some other aspects, Mr Tsikata said he had tried to file on the other side a list to go through with them but they had to stop because of time constraints.

Following that, the court adjourned the matter and asked the parties to use the rest of the day to sort out the pink sheets.

Earlier in his cross-examination of Dr Bawumia, Mr Tsikata, whose questions related to duplicated serial numbers, confronted the witness with many of those pink sheets and said there were no instances when pink sheets were duplicated, as alleged by the witness.

When counsel suggested to the witness that serial numbers were not a necessary security feature of pink sheets, Dr Bawumia disagreed with him and said that was unique.

When counsel said the polling agents of the petitioners did not check serial numbers, witness replied that they all assumed the Electoral Commission (EC) would protect the integrity of the process.

Mr Tsikata told the witness that polling stations could be identified by their names, code numbers and presiding officers, but Dr Bawumia replied that the serial numbers were unique and that made one polling station different from another.

Story: Stephen Sah

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