S.C. Dismisses Petitioner’s Review Application On EC Chairperson

The Supreme Court has affirmed its decisions not to compel Mrs Jean A. Mensa, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, (EC) to testify in the Election 2020 Petition trial.

This was after it unanimously dismissed a review application of John Dramani Mahama, the Petitioner, challenging the decision of the Court not to compel Mrs Jean A. Mensa to testify in the trial.

The nine-member panel, led by Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah, ruled that the Petitioner could not properly invoke the review jurisdiction of the Court.

The Court held that the Petitioner could also not demonstrate any exceptional circumstance to merit the grant of a review, adding that the Petitioner did not raise any new arguments in the review application.

The Court, comprising seven justices, on February 11, this year, held that it could not compel the EC chairperson to be cross-examined after her counsel had informed it of not calling any witnesses and as such closed their case.

Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, lead Counsel for the Petitioner, (Mr Mahama), however, filed the application praying the Court to review its decision.

Meanwhile, an application for stay of proceedings filed by Mr Tsikata, pending the hearing of the review application was also struck out by the Court.

The dismissal of the review application rendered the stay of proceedings application moot.

Moving the review application on Thursday at the Court, Mr Tsikata argued that Mrs Jean Mensa in two affidavits of the EC had indicated that she would be available to be cross-examined hence she should be made to mount the witness box.

Mr Tsikata alleged that in the interest of justice, Mrs Mensa should be made to testify.

According to the lead Counsel, the conduct of the EC Boss “is at the heart of the matter since she performs a constitutional duty.”

Mr Tsikata said nobody in the world could address issues concerning those matters on the election except the EC chairperson.

Mr Justine Amenuvor, lead Counsel for the EC, relying on Rule 54 of the Supreme Court rules and CI 16, said there had not been any fundamental error, which had occasioned a miscarriage of justice.

Mr Amenuvor said the Petitioner’s reliance on Section 26 of the Evidence Act was misconstrued and that the lawyer for the Petitioner’s arguments had no new grounds to merit the grant of a review.

“A review application is not an opportunity to have a second bite of the cherry,” Mr Amenuvor told the apex Court.

Mr Akoto Ampaw, lead Counsel for the second respondent (President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo) prayed the Court to award cost against the Petitioner for abuse of the court processes.

According to Mr Ampaw, the review application did not meet the strict conditions of Article 133 of the 1992 constitution and rule 54 of CI 16.

“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 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.“

Mr Ampaw recounted that the day’s sitting was “a proper occasion for cost to be awarded against the Petitioner.”

The Court has adjourned the matter to Monday, February 22, 2021, to hear another stay of proceedings pending the review of the Court’s decision declining the reopening of the Petitioner’s case.

Mr Mahama is in court challenging the validity of EC’s declaration of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo as the winner of the 2020 polls.

He is also accusing the EC of vote padding, an assertion the EC has denied.


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