The Supreme Court has served notice it won’t hesitate to dismiss John Mahama’s election petition should his legal team fail to abide by the court’s orders.
The caution follows an explanation by Counsel for the Petitioner, Tony Lithur that they had opted not to file witness statements as ordered by the court due to pending applications earlier filed.
According to him, Mr. Mahama has filed a stay of proceedings along with an application for the apex court to review the dismissal of his permission to serve the EC some 12 interrogatories.
But the seven-member panel of Judges hearing the petition – Chief Justice Anin-Yeboah; Justices Yaw Appau, Marful Sau, Professor Ashie Kotei, Mariama Owusu, Nene Amegatcher, and Gertrude Tokonor – were unhappy about the situation.
They argued that the witness statements should have been filed as ordered by the court since Mr. Mahama had earlier stated in his initial petition that he has five witnesses to back his case.
The judges subsequently ordered the team to file its witness statement by close of day, Wednesday, January 27, 2021.
Today’s hearing follows a ruling by the court on January 20, 2021, that five determinations will be used to pass final judgment on the election petition and ensure that the 42 days timeline is also met.
These issues, the Apex Court said included; Whether or not the petition discloses any reasonable cause of action and whether or not per the data available any candidate obtained more than 50% of the votes cast.
Again, the Apex Court said it will look at “whether or not the second respondent obtained more than 50% of the votes cast by the exclusion or inclusion of Techiman South Constituency results and whether or not declaration was in violation of the constitution.”
Finally, the court said it will consider “whether or not the alleged vote padding affected the results as declared.”
In view of this, the Judges ordered that the petitioner in the case, who is former President John Dramani Mahama, files his witness statements by Thursday, January 21, 2021, while the Respondents, made up of the Electoral Commission and the President, Akufo-Addo, file same by Friday, January 22, 2021.
Also, all the counsels involved in the case are to file their legal argument related to the initial objection by Monday, January 25, 2021.
But while the 1st and 2nd Respondent filed their witness statements, lawyers for the petitioner did not.
The case has since been adjourned to January 28.
Source: Felicia Osei & Joseph Ackah Blay, Myjoyonline