Supreme Court throws out Petitioner’s request to inspect EC’s documents

Supreme Court
Supreme court

The Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed a motion of the petitioner of the December 7 presidential election results requesting for the inspection of election documents in the custody of the Electoral Commission (EC).

The Petitioner, John Dramani Mahama wanted the court to compel the EC to produce six documents on the 2020 election in their custody.

The seven member panel in their ruling, held that the Petitioner (applicant) has not demonstrated that he has no copies of the documents in question.

The court held that “in the instant case the applicant has not raised any issue that he has no copies of the documents subject of the application.

In view of the fact that the proceedings so far shows that the Petitioner has copies of the documents the subject of the application, we are of the opinion that no proper case has been made before them to warrant the exercise of their discretion in favour of the applicant.’

The court furthermore, said Section 166 of the Evidence Act, NRCD 323 of 1975 makes it clear that a duplicate of a document is admissible to the same extent as that of the original, unless genuine questions were raised in respect of the authenticity of the duplicate.

“No issue has been raised against the authenticity of the duplicate in possession of the applicant.”

Counsel for the Petitioner in the Election 2020 filed a motion for an order compelling the Electoral Commission to produce for inspection some documents relating to the 2020 polls.

The alleged documents are the originals of Constituency Presidential Election results collation forms (Form 9) for all Constituencies in Ghana and originals of Constituency Presidential Election Results Summary Sheets (Form 10) for all constituencies, of which all parties that took part in the December polls already have in their possession.

The Petitioner is also seeking the originals of the Regional Presidential Elections Results Collation (forms 11) for all Regions, originals of the Regional Presidential Election Results Summary Sheets (forms 12) for all Regions, also expected to be in possession of the parties already.

Additionally, they are also seeking the original of the declaration of the Presidential Results form (form 13) and the records of the alleged update to the purported declaration of Presidential Election Results on December 9, 2020, of four Constituencies in the Greater Accra Region.

Mr Tsatsu Tsikata who moved the motion argued that the document being sought for were public documents and same was in the commission’s custody.

Mr Tsikata held that they wanted records of the update to the purported declaration of Election 2020 and when request for the documents was granted it would determine a fair trial.

Counsel for the Petitioner contended that there were different figures put out by the EC and the commission seem to have embraced the petitioner’s figures put out as well.

“The petitioner’s rejected stone, has now become a cornerstone of the first respondent (EC). There should be a proper validation of what the figure of the EC is.”

According to Mr Tsikata, the reality of changing numbers by the EC is inexplicable adding that “we are in the dark and it is on the basis that we request the EC to make available these documents.”

“We want to get to the bottom of this. If that inspection takes place we would be achieving fair hearing of this petition.

He said if the interest of the EC is based on transparency why would it be difficult for the Commission to allow access to the originals”, he said.

Lawyers for the first respondents (EC), Mr Justine Amenuvor and second respondents (Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo), Mr Akoto Ampaw opposed the Petitioner’s application.

Mr Amenuvor, questioned as to why it had taken the petitioner 34 days before filing the motion to inspect the EC’s documents.

The EC lawyer argued that the petitioner had failed to prove that the production of the documents was necessary, adding that the petitioner has carbonized copies of the document they were requesting.

“Evidence can’t be led in piecemeal before the High Court, how much more in the Supreme Court.”

Mr Akoto Ampaw, counsel for Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, said the petitioner is only shifting the burden of proof on the respondents.

Mr Ampaw held that the Petitioner has not showed how necessary the production of the document by the EC is.

The ongoing Election 2020 Petition had seen the calling of the two witnesses by the Petitioner, Mr John Dramani Mahama.

The two witnesses whose hearing has ended were discharged by the court are Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, General Secretary of the NDC and Dr. Michael Kpessa Whyte a member of the party.

Mr Mahama is in court challenging the validity of the declaration of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as winner of Election 2020 by the Electoral Commission. He is also accusing the EC of vote padding.

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