A nine-member panel of Supreme Court Judges yesterday unanimously upheld a seven-member panel decision that the Electoral Commission (EC) cannot be compelled to call its Chairperson Jean Mensa to testify in the ongoing presidential election petition.
Consequently, Mr John Dramani Mahama’s incessant attempt to have the EC chairperson enter the witness box for cross examination was finally halted after his review application was dismissed.
An earlier panel comprising; Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah, Justices Yaw Appau, Marful-Sau, Nene Amegatcher, Mariana Owusu, and Gertrude Torkornoo had ruled that the EC boss filing a witness statement does not mean she has to testify.
The Judges also pointed out that depositions in affidavits with regards to the interrogatories do not mean the witness can be compelled to enter the witness box, contrary to arguments by Tsatsu Tsikata, lead counsel for Mr Mahama.
Following the unanimous ruling on February 11, 2021, Mr Mahama then filed the review application, insisting that the apex court erred in law by not allowing Mrs Jean Mensa to testify.
However, in a straightforward and rather brief ruling on the review, Chief Justice Anin Yeboah who read the decision of the Apex Court, explained that no provision in the constitution or statute has been pointed out to show that the EC Chairperson can be subjected to different rules contrary to established rules of procedure and settled practice.
“The applicant has failed to satisfy the court that a new or important matter resulted from the reference to the constitutional provisions referred to ‘in the earlier ruling’. In the result, the application fails, and it is hereby dismissed,” Justice Anin Yeboah added.
The review had Justices Tanko and Lovelace Johnson joining the original seven-member panel to hear the case.
Lead lawyer for the petitioner, Tsatsu Tsikata had argued that the seven-member panel ought to have ruled that Jean Mensa by filing a witness statement and making claims of petitioner’s option of cross examining her in an affidavit should be compelled to testify.
This was opposed by lawyers for President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the EC, 2nd and 1st Respondents respectively.
They relied on rule 54 of the Supreme Court rules (C.I 16) to insists that the conditions meriting a review have not been met.
These conditions, they argued, are exceptional circumstances that have resulted in a miscarriage of justice and discovery of new and important matter or evidence which, after the exercise of due diligence, was not within the applicant’s knowledge or could not be produced by him.
Mahama’s review application abused court processes – Akoto Ampaw
Mr. Akoto Ampaw, the lead lawyer for President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, 2nd respondent in the election petition case, had earlier asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the review application filed by the petitioner.
He argued that the application was an abuse of the court processes and must not be countenanced.
“My lords, I believe, and we submit that this application is completely unmeritorious and does not satisfy the very strict conditions for review laid out in Article 133 and rule 54 of this court.
“We accordingly pray that this application be dismissed as an abuse of court processes and even though we are all aware that in constitutional matters like this, no cost is awarded, but I think this is a proper occasion for a cost to be awarded,” he insisted.
However, the apex court refused to award cost against the petitioner.