Supreme Court to decide Jean Mensa’s fate on Thursday
The Supreme Court has set February 11, to make a determination of whether or not the Electoral Commission Chairperson Jean Mensa should testify in the ongoing election petition hearing.
The seven member panel presided over by the Chief Justice Anin Yeboah made this known after proceedings on Tuesday.
The other panel members include Justices Yaw Apau, Samuel Kofi Marful-Sau, Professor Nii Ashie Kotey, Nene A. O. Amegatcher, Gertrude Torkonoo and Mariama Owusu.
This was after all three parties in the case made its submission known in respect of calling witnesses.
Counsel for the petitioner Tsatsu Tsikata
Mr Tsikata said in the context of fairness and justice the EC boss should testify.
According to him, the EC boss Jean Mensa who acted as the Returning Officer for the December 7 election is at the heart of the election petition case.
He further argued that once the first respondent (Electoral Commission) has indicated its readiness by filing a witness statement, it should call on its witness.
“By filing its witness statement the first respondent (Electoral Commission) has crossed the bridge as far as cross examination is concerned. That ship has already been crossed so she cannot back out now.
“In respect of an answer to our petition, she signed a statement of truth. All these affidavits she signed are before this court already. Undoubtedly, she knows the truth is what will make you free and instead of coming forward as a witness she said no,” Mr Tsikata said.
Refusing to testify, he said is an affront to justice and also not in accordance to the rules of the court.
In the interest of justice, he urged the court not to allow the respondent to adduce evidence.
Mr Tsikata also makes reference to an affidavit filed on January 22, this year, in response to the dismissed interrogatories review filed by the petitioner, urging the court to allow the EC Chairperson respond to 12 key questions it believed was important to their case.
“In the affidavit filed, the EC said the applicant does not suffer any injury at all to his right if the court dismisses the case as he still has the opportunity to ask questions if he so wishes during cross examination.
“Affidavit to the motion in response to the stay of proceedings filed — the EC again said the petitioner does not suffer any injury at all because the applicant will still get the opportunity to cross examine her,” Mr Tsikata read paragraphs of the EC’s affidavit to the court.
All these affidavit filed in response to the petitioner, Mr Tsikata said reassures the petitioner that the EC by all means intended to stand as a witness.
Counsel for first respondent Justin Amenuvor
Counsel for the first respondent Justin Amenuvor, who was first to announce that it has closed its case and in effect will not call any witnesses, maintained that the commission does not see it fit to prove its case further.
With reference to law, Mr Amenuvor pointed out that a court cannot direct a witness to testify. He believes it is the duty of the petitioner (John Mahama) to prove the matter before the court.
He urged the court not to engage itself in an arena of conflict but rather allow the parties themselves to chose its witnesses.
As it stands now, he added that there is no rule that directs the respondent (Electoral Commission) to testify.
Mr Amenuvor said the legal team for the petitioner should rather rejoice in the fact that it has proven its case with its three witnesses.
He concludes by making reference to the 2012/13 presidential election petition where Justice Adenyira held that the burden of proof lies in the bosom of the petitioner.
Counsel for the second respondent Akoto Ampaw
Adding his voice, Counsel for the second respondent Akoto Ampaw said the second respondent (Nana Akufo-Addo) does not need to prove anything.
He makes reference to the Joseph Aknu-Baffour and two others versus Lawrence Bourco’s case at the Supreme Court, where the court held that “a litigant who is a defendant does not need to prove anything, the plaintiff who took the matter is the one who must prove.”
He argued that it is only when the defendant (in this case President Akufo-Addo) desires a determination to be made in his favour that he calls a witness.
According to him, the petitioner by law cannot compel the respondent to enter the witness box.
Mr Ampaw also said that the petitioner (John Mahama) should be happy that the apex court will soon bring the petition hearing to a close.