Election 2020

Election Petition: Blocking Jean Mensa from testifying was most injurious– Mahama

Former President John Dramani Mahama has said that the decision of the seven justices of the Supreme Court to refuse his request to make the Chair of the Electoral Commission (EC) Jean Adukwei Mensa testify in the 2020 election petition hearing, was the most injurious development in the entire hearing.

During the hearing, the Court said Mrs Adukwei Mensa, and Campaign Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in last year’s elections Peter Mac Manu could not be compelled to mount the witness box to be cross-examined.

The apex court said this on Thursday, February 11, 2021 when delivering its ruling on whether or not Mrs Adukwei Mensa should mount the witness box to be cross-examined.

During proceedings on Tuesday, February 9, 2021 lawyers for the 1st and 2nd respondents, Justin Amenuvor and Akoto Ampaw respectively, told the Court that the petitioner cannot compel them to elect witnesses to appear in the witness box.

During legal arguments on a move by the respondents not to testify in the case, Mr Akoto Ampaw told the Court: “The petitioner cannot compel us to enter the witness box to adduce evidence.”

He added: “The petitioner has adduced evidence and closed his case. We have taken the position that in our assessment, they have not discharged the burden of proof and the burden of producing evidence and, therefore, we will not give further evidence and the Court will determine the case on the evidence before it

Lawyer for the petitioner Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, told the court during the legal arguments that Jean Mensa, cannot skip cross-examination.

He argued that by filing a witness statement, the 1st Respondent has opened her up for cross-examination.

“It is our respectful submission that by filing its witness statement the first respondent has clearly crossed the bridge as far as opening the witness up for cross-examination is concerned. That bridge has been crossed, the ship has already been sailed,” Tsatsu said in his argument to the bench.

But the court dismissed his objection on the heels that a witness cannot be compelled to mount the witness box.

Addressing the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs on Tuesday October 12 as part of his thank you tour, Mr Mahama said “Despite the fact that the elections were not declared for us , we went to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court gave it its ruling against us and so in my address to the nation I accepted the ruling of the court even though we were not too happy .

“I think that justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done and so the demands we made during the court hearing , one, to let the electoral commission give access to information which was turned down.

“To ask the electoral commission some questions that are called interrogatories such as is done in normal court proceedings , that was also turned down and indeed the most injuries one to our democracy , to let the person responsible for elections in this country that has been constitutionally mandated stand in the witness box and testify to the work she did , also turned down.

“And so, we accepted the verdict but we disagreed with a lot of things that took place in that court. But in the interest of peace of the country we accept by reason of that court , it means that the recognised president of the country is Nana Akufo-Addo and we all respect him as our president . I will continue to say that even though we disagreed with processes of the elections, we disagreed with some of the process of the court hearing , the reality of the fact is that he is our president.”

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