A nine-member panel of the Supreme Court yesterday, in a unanimous decision, dismissed another application for review of a ruling by the court filed by the petitioner in the ongoing presidential election petition.
Former President John Dramani Mahama was seeking a review of an earlier ruling affirming the right of the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Jean Mensa, not to testify.
Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, delivering the court’s verdict, said the bench was not convinced by the arguments advanced by the petitioner’s counsel to warrant a contrary decision.
“The applicant has failed to satisfy the court that a new or important matter resulted from the reference to the constitutional provisions referred to [in the earlier ruling]. In the result, the application fails, and it is hereby dismissed,” he said.
The lead counsel for the petitioner, Tsatsu Tsikata, had argued that in respect of the ruling, they were dealing with what happened in court after they had closed their case, following which the counsel for the respondents also announced certain steps they would seek to take, including decision not to call witnesses.
According to him, the respondents made reference to Order 36 (4 -3) and also made reference to Order 38 rule 3 (5), and that no reference was made to order 38 rule 3 (1), the provision based on which the court dismissed the petitioner’s earlier application.
Counsel for first and second respondents, in opposing the application, urged the apex court to award cost against Mr Mahama, adding that the review application did not meet conditions of Article 133 and rule 54 of the processes of the Court.
“We submit that this application is completely unmeritorious and does not satisfy the very strict conditions for review laid out in Article 133 and rule 54 of this court.
“We accordingly pray that this application be dismissed as an abuse of court processes, and even though we are all aware that in constitutional matters like this, no cost is awarded, I think this is a proper occasion for a cost to be awarded,” counsel for the second respondent, Akoto Ampaw, said.
Stay of proceedings
In a related development, the court also struck out the application for stay of proceedings filed by Mr Mahama.
Counsel for the petitioner on Tuesday filed the application aimed at freezing hearing of the substantive matter to allow for the application for review to be heard.
The court argued that the determination of the review application renders the stay application moot (a legal term which means dead).
“The court is of the opinion this application was filed pending the determination of the review application, which has been determined. So, we are of the opinion that this application is moot, and proceed to strike it out,” Chief Justice Anin-Yeboah said.
Also, the court has re-ordered counsel for the petitioner to file their written submission by Monday. Counsel for the first and second respondent have filed their written submissions in accordance with the orders of the court.
According to Mr Tsikata, their refusal to file the written submission was based on the review application they had filed.
He also notified the court that another review application and attendant stay of proceedings had been filed.
That notwithstanding, the court insisted that the written submission must be filed by Monday. The court also gave the indication that a date for judgement will be announced on Monday.