Dr Michael Kpessa-Whyte, a witness for former President Mahama

Lawyers for the Electoral Commission (EC) and President Nana Akufo-Addo yesterday discredited the second witness for Mr John Dramani Mahama, the petitioner who is challenging the results of the 2020 general election at the Supreme Court.

This was after the lawyers for the 1st and 2nd Respondents respectively, exposed blatant inconsistencies and apparent untruths in the witness statement of Dr. Michael Kpessa-Whyte.

Dr Kpessa-Whyte had stated in his statement that the Chairperson of the 1st respondent, Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa had asked him and Rojo Mettle-Nunoo to have a conference with the petitioner on some alleged irregularities they had detected in a number of regional results of the 2020 presidential polls at the EC national collation centre (the strong room).

He claimed the EC Chair acted in bad faith as she reportedly declared the results of the polls a few minutes after she asked them to deliver the message to the petitioner.

However, during cross-examination by the lead lawyer for the 1st respondent, Justin Amenuvor, Dr Kpessa-Whyte changed his statement, saying he and Rojo were rather instructed by the EC chairperson to deliver the message.

Subsequently, the witness was reminded that Mrs Mensa “asking them was different from instructing them”, raising questions about the credibility of the claim.

Again on further scrutiny, the witness told the Supreme Court that he did not personally hear from Mrs Mensa about the alleged instruction.

He claimed the EC chairperson instructed them through his colleague, Mettle-Nunoo, insisting they were tricked by Mrs Mensa to leave the strong room for the presidential results to be declared.

However, Mr Amenuvor told the witness that he and his colleague decided to run away or vamoose from the strong room after they realised that the petitioner had lost the presidential election.

During cross examination by Akoto Ampaw, lead lawyer for the 2nd respondent, Dr Kpessa-Whyte admitted that he and Mettle-Nunoo were not under any obligation to obey the “so-called” instruction by the EC chairperson.

Lawyer Ampaw urged the seven-member panel of Judges hearing the petition to disregard the claims by Dr Kpessa-Whyte, insisting the witness is not credible. 

Seeking clarification, one of the Judges asked the witness whether it was not a dereliction of duty on their part for both of them to leave the strong room to have a conference with the petitioner.

In response, the witness disagreed with the Judge, saying they trusted the EC Chair and held what she told them in good faith.

“That is not true because we were working in furtherance of making sure that the results to be declared by the First Respondent reflects and represent the will of the people and if she asking us to consult with the petitioner is part of how we could get there, we were ready to do that,” he said.

The witness who is a Public Policy lecturer at the University of Ghana, Legon, added that even though they were not in the strongroom to take instructions from the EC chairperson, they had to oblige because the instruction was serious.

He insisted Mrs Mensa told them to go and consult with the petitioner on the specific irregularities they had brought to her attention regarding the results from some regions.

“And she did also indicate that the reason she was asking us to do so is for all the stakeholders including the NPP, Peace Council and others could be invited to ensure that we had a credible result before the announcement of the winner is made,” Dr Kpessa-Whyte claimed.

Form 13

According to the witness, the Form 13, they were given did not have any space for them to register their disagreement with the figures.

The form is used to capture regional results obtained by all candidates contesting the presidential election.