Lawyers for President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo have objected to a request by the 2020 presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr John Dramani Mahama to the Supreme Court to put the election petition hearing on hold.
Mr. Mahama through his lawyers led by Tsatsu Tsikata is demanding that hearing of the petition is halted until the apex court deals with a review application he has filed.
However, documents signed by one of Mr. Akufo-Addo’s lawyers, Mr Kwaku Asirifi, described the request by Mr. Mahama as “unmeritorious and calculated to stall the hearing of the petition”.
Mr. Mahama is at the apex court challenging the 2020 election results and calling for a re-run between him and President Akufo-Addo.
In pursuit of a speedy trial of the case, the court on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, ordered that Mr. Mahama’s team file its witness statements by close of day on Thursday.
However, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata told the court that they had filed an application urging the court to review its early decision that turned down a request to subject the EC Chairperson Jean Mensa to 12 questions and admit to certain errors.
Instead of filing their witness statements on Thursday, Mr. Mahama’s lawyers rather filed another application, asking the court to halt all proceedings relating to the case till it determines their review application.
The lawyers argued that a serious miscarriage of justice will be occasioned if the court proceeds without a determination of the review application. This, according to them, will result in irreparable harm that cannot be remedied.
However, President Akufo-Addo whose electoral victory is being challenged disagreed, urging the court to dismiss the application as it is only intended to delay trial of the substantive case.
According to the documents filed, the president averred that Mr Mahama was well aware of the strict 42-day timeline imposed on the Supreme Court to deal with election petitions.
He added that the law imposing such a requirement was gazetted and came into force on 5th January 2017 when Mr. Mahama was President of Ghana.
The further argued that Mr. Mahama could have filed his interrogatories request shortly after filing his petition on December 30, 2020 or at least on 9th January, 2021 when he received the EC and President Akufo-Addo’s response.
Mr Mahama’s actions, the president reiterated, were deliberately made late as a part of a plot to stampede the clear timelines imposed on the Supreme Court.
“There are no exceptional circumstances occasioning a miscarriage of justice that warrant the grant of the instant application for stay of proceedings.
“This honourable court ought to dismiss the application as unmeritorious and calculated to stall the hearing of a petition that he himself has initiated”, he prayed.