The Supreme Court has in a unanimous decision ruled that the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Jean Mensa, and Peter Mac Manu cannot be forced to testify in the Election Petition case.
The apex court made the ruling on Thursday, February 11, 2021, on the back of an application filed by lead counsel for the Electoral Commission, Justine Amenuvor, and that of President Akufo-Addo, Akoto Ampaw, asking for permission not to call any witness.
Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah who read the ruling said the judges were not convinced by the contrary arguments made by Tsatsu Tsikata, lead counsel for the petitioner.
He also said they were given a limited jurisdiction in the Election Petition case and that they do not intend to go beyond that jurisdiction.
“We are minded to state that our jurisdiction invoked in this election petition is a limited jurisdiction clearly circumscribed by law. We do not intend to extend our mandate beyond what the law requires of us in such petitions brought under Article 64 (1) challenging the validity of the election of a president. Simply put, we are not convinced, and we will not yield to the invitation being extended to us by counsel for the petitioner to order the respondents to enter the witness box to be cross-examined. Accordingly, we hereby overrule the objection raised by the counsel for the petitioner against the decision of the respondents declining to adduce evidence in this petition,” he added.
Counsel for the respondents insisted that the evidence put forth by the petitioner, John Dramani Mahama does not meet the burden of proof thereby making it unnecessary to put a witness for a counter case.
Mr. Amenovor relied on Order 36 Order sub-rule 4 and 38, rule 3 (e) sub-rule 1 and 5 of CI 47 as amended by CI 87 as the basis for their decision to close their case and not call a witness.
By that application, he (Mr. Amenovor) suggested that other parties can treat the witness statement by the EC Chair as “hearsay”.
Likewise, lead counsel for President Nana Akufo-Addo, Akoto Ampaw also announced that the New Patriotic Party’s 2020 Campaign Manager, Peter Mac Manu would not be taking the witness box for cross-examination.
Mr. Ampaw argued that the petitioner has not been able to make a solid case in court hence the decision to close their case.
He further insisted that the petitioner “should rather be happy since his petition would be ruled on by his own evidence.”
But the lead counsel for the petitioner, Tsatsu Tsikata, disagreed.
Mr. Tsikata thus accused Mrs. Mensa of evading cross-examination.
He insisted that Mrs. Jean Mensa has signed a witness statement and affidavits thereby constituting an election to adduced evidence.