A nine-member Supreme Court review panel presided over by Chief Justice Anin Yeboah, has dismissed an application by the petitioner in the ongoing election 2020 petition (John Dramani Mahama), seeking review of the decision of the Court that dismissed an initial application asking permission to serve interrogatories (12 questions) on the Electoral Commission.
After nearly two hours of argument from the lead lawyer for the Petitioner, Tsatsu Tsikata, and opposing arguments from lawyers of the Respondents, Justin Amenuvor for the EC (1st Respondent) and Akoto Ampaw, for President Akufo-Addo (2nd Respondent), the Apex Court ruled that the Petitioner did not meet the high threshold set by article 133 (1) of the 1992 constitution and rule 54 (A) of Constitutional Instrument, C. I. 16.
The Court in its ruling noted that reviews and appeals are very distinct from each other and the Court has been consistent in explaining the distinction in both jurisdictions in previous cases. The Court further held that the Tamakloe case as cited by Tsikata (lawyer for the Petitioner) did not support the application as he sought to argue. The Court concluded that acceding to the application for review will mean that it is expanding it scope as far as its review jurisdiction is concerned and that its inherent jurisdiction could not be invoked in the instant case before it.
“The application for review fails and same is hereby dismissed,” the Supreme Court review panel ruled.
Motion to amend dismissed
Before lawyers of the Petitioner moved their application for review, they sought to ask the Court to permit them to file additional grounds to their application and to change paragraph 28 of the statement of case with regard to their review application. The review panel however dismissed the application noting that the rules governing review applications do not permit what the Petitioner was seeking.
After the review panel completed its work, the panel rose and same was reconstituted to the original seven-member panel adjudicating the substantive election petition. The panel when it reconstituted directed that the court will resit Friday 29 January 2021. The Court also instructed the Petitioner to note that at the next sitting, their witnesses will be called to go to the box for the actual trial to commence.
Former President John Mahama’s lawyer, on 19 January 2020, moved a motion praying the court for leave to serve certain questions on the Electoral Commission (Application for Interrogatories) which he claimed if answered would narrow down the issues before the court.
The Ex-President in the application wanted the EC to answer among others, questions relating to the processes involved in the transmission of results from the polling station level, to the constituency level, to the regional offices of the EC and subsequently to the Returning Officer of the presidential election, Mrs. Jean Mensa, at the EC office. He also sought to solicit responses on whether or not the National Communications Authority (NCA) in any way facilitated the transmission of results from the various centres to the national headquarters of the EC.
The EC through its lawyer, Justin Amenuvor, opposed the application urging the court not to grant the application as it did not raise any relevant issues that were in contention. It was the case of the EC that the answers being sought by the Petitioner were already contained in their own petition and the responses of the respondents.
The court after going on recess for about 45 minutes reconstituted and ruled that the application for interrogatories by the Petitioner were not grounded in law and that same is in contravention of the rules that govern adjudication of the election petitions (CI 99) which is the main issue before the court. The application was dismissed on the ruling of the Chief Justice on the 19th of January 2021.