There will be strict integrity test today for the third witness for Mr John Dramani Mahama, National Democratic Congress (NDC) presidential candidate for the 2020 general election in the ongoing election petition hearing at the Supreme Court.
Mr Rojo Mettle-Nunoo will be meticulously cross-examined by lawyers for Electoral Commission (EC) and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, 1st and 2nd Respondents respectively after his colleagues Johnson Asiedu Nketia and Dr Michael Kpessa-Whyte went through a grueling process.
Mr Mettle-Nunoo and Dr Kpessa-Whyte were the two agents who represented Mr Mahama at the EC’s National Collation Centre during the 2020 polls but decided to “vamoose” before the declaration of the final results.
Mr Mahama filed the petition at the Supreme Court, seeking a re-run between him and President Akufo-Addo who was declared the winner of the 2020 polls.
He claimed nobody won the election and therefore there should be a second voting between him and the current president.
Mr Mettle-Nunoo is expected to face the lawyers today via video conference or zoom due to what Tsatsu Tsikata, lead lawyer for Mr Mahama has described as a “medical condition”.
He will be subjected to strict proof following his allegation that, he and his colleague Dr Kpessa-Whyte were “tricked”, “instructed” by the chairperson of the 1st Respondent to leave the National Collation Centre (Strong Room) to have a conference with the petitioner over some irregularities they identified with the regional collation summary sheets.
Mr Mettle-Nunoo and his colleague averred in their witness statements that the EC Chairperson, Mrs Jean Mensa showed bad faith when she declared the presidential election results a few minutes after she instructed them to deliver the message to the petitioner.
At the election petition hearing last Friday, lead lawyer for the 2nd Respondent, Mr Akoto Ampaw objected to 23 out 32 paragraphs of Mettle-Nunoo’s witness statement.
He objected to paragraph 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30 and 31.
Accordingly, the lead counsel for the 1st respondent, Mr. Justin Amenuvor associated himself with the objections raised by Mr. Ampaw.
Mr Ampaw argued that the 23 paragraphs should be expunged because they were not based on the pleadings of the petitioner in his original nor amended petition; and also sought to introduce a new case.
However, lead counsel for the petitioner Tsikata opposed the objections raised, arguing that Mr. Ampaw’s objections were baseless and “should be overruled” by the apex court.
The Supreme Court in a unanimous decision struck out only five paragraphs including paragraph 4, 5, 6, 7 and 18, maintaining the rest.
The court subsequently adjourned sitting to today Monday, February 8, 2021 for Mettle-Nunoo to be cross-examined.
Below are excerpts of the court’s ruling read by Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah:
The 2nd respondent’s counsel has raised objections to various paragraphs from the testimony of Robert Joseph Mettle-Nunoo (PW3) in these proceedings.
The relevant paragraphs and the subject of objections are from line three of paragraph 4,5,6,7,8,11,16,17,19,20,22,23,24,29,30 and 31.
They objected on the grounds that they are not supported by the pleadings. Paragraph 9,15, and 18 were objected on the basis that they raised issues of authenticity of documents in the election that the court has already dealt with.
Paragraph 10 was objected on the grounds that the petitioner was seeking to build a new case.
Paragraph 12, 25 and 26 were objected to as reflecting the opinion and not irrelevant to issues in controversy.
The petitioner’s counsel argued that the objections are supported in law because the testimony is premised on either the petition and the answers and the prior testimony of the second witness [Dr. Kpessa-Whyte] on the 3rd February 3, 2021, and the answer of the 1st respondent herein.
We’ve considered the submissions of both counsel and the testimony and the pleadings in this petition.
We are of the opinion that paragraphs 4, 5, 6, 7 and 18 ought to be struck out as they have no foundation in the pleadings or supported by the evidence and the same is hereby struck out and the remaining paragraphs in the witness statement are maintained.