Mahama suffers another blow as SC unanimously dismisses review application

The Supreme Court has again dismissed a review application filed by the petitioner John Dramani Mahama in the ongoing election hearing.

The nine-member review panel, in a unanimous decision tossed out the application because it did not meet the legal threshold.

“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,” the CJ said.

Two new justices, Imoro Tanko and Avril Lovelace Johnson had to be added to expand the panel, to hear the case on Thursday.

The initial panel hearing the case were seven namely: Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah, Yaw Apau, Samuel Kofi Marful-Sau, Prof. Nii Ashie Kotey, Nene A. O. Amegatcher, Gertrude Torkonoo and Mariama Owusu.

The review application, which was filed on February 16, 2021, was for the court to take a second look at its own ruling that prevented the EC Chairperson Jean Mensa from testifying.

It was the view of the court that a witness cannot be compelled to mount the witness box against his or her will.

It added that the fact that a witness statement has been submitted does not mean it is already in evidence.

It was on this basis that the petitioner’s team led by Tsatsu Tsikata filed the two application – a review application and a stay of proceedings application.

The apex court’s ruling come after the parties in the case had argued their point regarding the review application.

Respondents opposed the motion 

Counsel for the Electoral Commission Justin Amenuvor, who was the first to oppose the review application said the review application of Mr Mahama’s team was merely an opportunity for a second bite of the cherry.

Throwing a soft jab, Mr Amenuvor claimed the petitioner’s team led by Tsatsu Tsikata are simply seeking an opportunity to fill gaps and lapses to strengthen its case.

He added that Mr Tsikata’s decision to rely on the deposition filed by the EC Chairperson Jean Mensa was misconceived.

In the case of the second respondent’s counsel Akoto Ampaw, he described the application as a fiction of the petitioner’s imagination.

He said the review application was a classic case of an aggrieved person who had become emotional, and wants another forum to further argue its case.

Mr Ampaw maintained that the application is an abuse of the court processes and must not be countenanced.

He insisted that the petitioner is deliberately delaying the hearing and the determination of the petition.

The duo, have therefore urged, the nine-member panel of the apex court to dismiss the review application as it is not worthy of attention.

To drum home the need for dismissal, Mr Ampaw added that the review application does not meet conditions of Article 133 and rule 54 of the processes of the Supreme Court.

“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 added.

Petitioner’s counsel mounts spirited defense 

Mr Tsatsu Tsikata on the other hand, said the court fundamentally erred when it gave its ruling because the ruling was given under the impression that the witness statement filed by the respondent (Electoral Commission) will be used.

He pointed out that the witness statement of the EC Chairperson Jean Mensa was still in full force as it had not been withdrawn by the first respondent or struck out by the court.

Mr Tsikata insisted that since the witness statement has not been withdrawn, it was important for the EC boss to testify.

He explained that he wanted Mrs Mensa to testify not because the team wanted the court to compel the EC to adduce evidence, but because Mrs Mensa had made representations in her affidavits to testify.

He believes that the EC Chairperson must testify in the interest of justice since she is the only Returning Officer for the 2020 presidential elections.

The case has been adjourned to February 22, 2021.

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