Election Petition: Petitioner unhappy as Respondents bid to close their case

Dr Dominic Akuritinga Ayine
Dr Dominic Akuritinga Ayine

Dr Dominic Akuritinga Ayine, a Spokesperson for the Petitioner in the 2020 Presidential Election Petition says the reason for the insistence that the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission shold mount the witness box because the “trial is of public interest.”

He alleged that the Petitioner, former President John Dramani Mahama, was at the Court not only for himself but also for the public interest.

The spokesperson said the issues had to do with the declaration of results that was supposed to reflect the sovereign will of the people of the country.
However per the proceedings so far the petitioner has so far not been able to discharge its burden of proof as outlined by counsel for the two respondents at the trial so far.

Dr Ayine, who was speaking at the post-trial media briefing, also alleged that the Petitioner was also in court to deal with Article 1 of the 1992 Constitution, which says “the sovereignty of Ghana resides in the people, in whose name and for whose welfare the powers of government must be exercised.”

The Petitioner and Respondents on Tuesday, February 9, advanced arguments as to whether or not the witnesses for the Respondents have to mount the witness stand to be sworn and cross-examined by Counsel for the Petitioner.

Mr Akoto Ampaw, the lead Counsel for President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Second Respondent, argued that the Petitioner had not discharge the burden of proof in the trial and that they were entitled not to adduce any evidence and to call any witness.

He said they wanted to tender their witness statement as hearsay evidence, adding that “we pray our application will be up held.”

Mr Justin Amenuvor, the lead Counsel for the Electoral Commission said looking at the evidence and cross-examination of the Petitioner’s witnesses, they did not intend to call any witness.

Dr Ayine said for the Chairperson to declare that the sovereign will of the Country as expressed on December 7, 2020, elected Nana Akufo-Addo as President of the Country, she had a Constitutional duty to account to the people on how she arrived at that conclusion.

He alleged that constitutional duty meant that the Chairperson could not under any circumstance be allowed not to be cross-examined, because cross-examination was one of the mechanisms allowed by law for exhorting accountability of litigants.

“She is not an ordinary litigant but rather a Constitutional Office holder,” he added.

Dr Ayine said the Chairperson, who is also the Returning officer of the 2020 Presidential Election, should take the stand and be cross-examined on a witness statement, she voluntarily filed before the Court.
The Spokesperson said when the Petitioner applied for interrogatories and wanted to administer 12 questions to Electoral Commission chairperson, she swore affidavits in which she said the interrogatories should not be allowed and that it can be done during cross-examination.

Dr Ayine said when the Petitioner served notice on the EC to inspect original documents in the custody of the Commission, which served as the bases for the declaration on December 9, 2020, Mrs Mensa swore affidavits that the Court should not grant the Petitioner leave to inspect the documents.

He alleged that this was the bases that when it comes to cross-examination, they would take their turn in impeaching her credibility in looking at those documents and its relevance.

Dr Ayine said during case management process, orders were given by the court for witnesses to file their statements and again, the EC Mrs Mensa filed a witness statement in the matter basically, saying she was going to give evidence.

He alleged that the point their lead Counsel, Mr Tsikata, was trying to make was that there was evidence on record, showing that the EC chairperson had “elected” to give evidence and this means that she had to be cross-examined on the witness statement that she filed.

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