Dr Dominic Ayine, a former Deputy Attorney-General and a member of the legal team of the petitioner in the ongoing presidential election petition, has accused the seven-member Supreme Court panel sitting on the case of executing “a pre-determined agenda” to rule the case against the NDC flagbearer in the 2020 general election, John Dramani Mahama.
Dr Ayine’s remarks follows the dismissal of an application by lawyers for the petitioner that was seeking leave of the court to re-open his case in order to subpoena the Electoral Commission Chairperson, Jean Mensa, to mount the witness box.
Speaking to the media after the court hearing yesterday, the NDC MP for Bolga East said he was surprised that the “Supreme Court itself, having set out five key issues to be determined, is now reducing the issues to one, which is whether and the extent to which the evidence that we have led shows that no one got more than 50 per cent of the votes in accordance with Article 63 of the Constitution.”
“But we have made [it] abundantly clear in the petition that there were a number of infractions. We are contesting even the constitutionality of the declaration that was made. We are saying that she violated Article 23 of the constitution because she is an administrative body.
“We have also said her exercise of discretion was contrary to Article 296 of the constitution. These are all germane issues under the constitution and laws of Ghana. To reduce the petition into a single issue petition is rather unfortunate and smack (sic) of a predetermined agenda to rule against the petitioner in this matter,” he said.
The petitioner is challenging the declaration of the second respondent, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, by the first respondent, the Electoral Commission, as the winner of the December 7, 2020 general election.
The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed an application by the petitioner seeking leave to re-open his case after he had closed same.
The petitioner argued that the decision to re-open the case was to enable him subpoena Mrs Mensa to adduce evidence before the court.
The application was objected to by counsel for both the first and second respondents.
The court, in a unanimous decision, dismissed the application, arguing that after giving consideration to the submissions of lawyers for the petitioner and counter arguments by the lawyers of the respondents, there was no justifiable reason in law to allow the petitioner to re-open his case just to serve a subpoena on the Chairperson of the EC to testify.
“… we weighed the propriety of re-opening proceedings to permit additional evidence to be led or tendered and Court will typically consider three broad questions. Will the evidence, if it had been presented during the trial, have had any influence on the result? Could the evidence have been obtained before beginning trial by the exercise of reasonable diligence?
“We find no merit or so why the petitioner in his application to re-open his case for the sole purpose of compelling his adversary’s intended witness to testify through a subpoena without indicating the sort of urgency he intends to solicit from the said witness and how that evidence is going to help the court in resolving the dispute before us. We accordingly refuse the application and proceed without any hesitation to dismiss it,” Chief Justice Anin Yeboah, delivering the verdict of the court, said.
Unhappy about the development, Dr Ayine accused the court of doing the country a disservice with its ruling.
“For the court to say that we were bound by law to make our evidence available for it to assess before allowing us to re-open our case is a legally problematic proposition; therefore we disagree with the court,” he said.
“We think that the court by this decision has not done the people of this country a great service in the sense that Ghanaians are interested in knowing the truth. Our constitution is very clear that justice emanates from the people and must be exercised in the name of and the welfare of the people.
“The Justices today have not given us a reason to believe that they want the people of this country to know the truth about what happened,” he added.
Meanwhile, the petitioner has filed two new applications at the court. Mr Mahama is seeking a review of the ruling of the court which said witnesses for the first and second respondents, Jean Mensa and Peter Mac Manu, respectively, cannot be compelled to adduce evidence.
He is also seeking to stay proceedings pending the determination of his review application.
Lead counsel for the petitioner, Tsatsu Tsikata, yesterday informed the court about the two applications after it had delivered its judgement.
In a related development, a spokesperson for the lawyers of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has observed that there is a major difference between how former EC boss Dr Kwadjo Afari Gyan appeared in the witness box in 2013 and what the 2020 petitioners are seeking to achieve in the ongoing hearing.
Addressing journalists, he stressed that “the brilliance of the then running mate Alhaji Dr Mahamadu Bawumia in demonstrating 11,000 pink sheets and the problems with them compelled Dr Afari Gyan that if he did not get into the witness box, the job that he had done was going to be set aside.”