Mahama urges Supreme Court to rethink its interrogatories ruling
Ahead of the election petition hearing on Tuesday, lawyers of the NDC Flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama, have filed another tonne of document questioning the Supreme Court decision not to allow their interrogatories.
The new application makes it the sixth legal process filed by the petitioners since the hearing started weeks ago.
In its new application, the petitioner through his lawyers have mounted a spirited challenge of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the interrogatories application on January 19, that sought to ask the Electoral Commissioner 12 key questions.
According to them, these questions if allowed by the apex court will reveal the illegalities that characterised the December 7, elections, last year.
But the apex court dismissed their interrogatories application on grounds that since the court is being guided by C.I. 99, it will be good to ask these questions during its cross-examination stage.
But the NDC Flagbearer disagreed.
The petitioner has maintained that the court “fundamentally erred in law when it held that C.I. 99 repealed or otherwise excluded the application of C.I 47 either in whole or in part”.
“We want this court to make a volte-face and grant leave for the interrogation to be served on the first respondent,” the concluding part of the application read.
A volte-face is a total change of position, as in policy or opinion. The expression comes from the French language.
The petitioners are therefore asking for the jurists for a U-turn on their decision and grant them permission to serve the said interrogatories.
The apex court will sit on January 26, 2021, to make a determination of the issues filed by the petitioner.
The respondents –the Electoral Commission and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo have urged the apex court to ignore the ‘rants’ of former President Mahama.
Find the document to that effect
Following the ruling, the petitioner subsequently filed a stay of proceedings.
The stay of proceedings comes after the apex court dismissed an application that sought to order the Electoral Commissioner to specifically respond to questions regarding anomalies that characterised the December 7, 2020, elections.
In a unanimous decision, on the preliminary issue, the apex court presided over by Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah said the court rules had been amended with respect to interrogatories.
Interrogatories are a formal set of written questions propounded by one litigant and required to be answered by the opposing party or parties in order to clarify matters of fact and help to determine in advance what facts will be presented at any trial in the case.
The Chief Justice said the new regime did not afford the court the laxity of time to respond to allow such questions to be answered before the trial begins.
The court explained that “reference was made to the 2013 [presidential election] petition in which an application for interrogatories was granted by the Supreme Court.
“However, subsequent to 2013, several statutory amendments have been made by C.I. 99 of 2016 which has restricted the practice and procedure of this court as regards Election Petition.
“Indeed, Rule 69 of the Supreme Court amendment in C.I. 99 directs the expeditious disposal of petitions and sets timelines for this court to dispose off the petition. The amendments provide us [court] with new procedural regime and strict timelines.
“We are strictly bound to comply with C.I. 90 and therefore we will not apply Order 22 of C.I. 45 of 2004 in this circumstances. We, accordingly, refuse to grant the application and same is accordingly dismissed,” the court said.
It was the case of the apex court that the petitioners simply wanted to delay the process.
The dissatisfied Mahama team filed a review on Wednesday but the court declined to rule on it but said it would incorporate it decision in its final judgement.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Wednesday announced the roadmap for the election petition hearing that will determine if President Nana Akufo-Addo was duly elected.
In setting out the timeliness, it said it would not tolerate time-wasting as it took a cue from the 2012 election petition which travelled for more than eight months.
The roadmap announced will see parties making their case to determine if indeed there were some anomalies with the results that saw the NPP presidential candidate emerging winner of the 2020 polls.