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Election Petition: Blow-by-blow account of what exactly transpired in court today

The Supreme Court has set ground rules for pre-trial in the ongoing election petition.

Unlike proceedings yesterday which started around 10:00 am, hearing today commenced at 9:35am.

The petitioner, John Dramani Mahama, who has been appearing before the court since the beginning of the petition was represented by the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress, Johnson Asiedu Nketia.

When the matter was called by the court, counsel for the petitioner, Tsatsu Tsikata, informed the court that they had filed for a review of the ruling of the court on the application to serve interrogatories on the 1st Respondent.

He said they had also filed their memorandum of issues.

After 10 minutes into the case, the court went on recess to deliberate on the issues filed so as to set the modalities for the hearing of the petition.

The petitioner proposed 12 issues while the 2nd Respondent proposed three issues for consideration.

After the deliberation by the Seven Panel of Judges hearing the petition, presided over by the Chief Justice, the court returned from break and issued out the following orders (Paraphrased):

1.

a. Whether or not Petitioner’s petition discloses a reasonable cause of action.

b. Whether or not based on the statement of results by the EC, the 2nd Respondent crossed the        threshold in article 63?

c. Whether or not the 2nd Respondent by the exclusion or inclusion of the Votes in Techiman constituency crossed the threshold in article 63(1)?

d. Whether or not the alleged case of vote padding affected the results of the 2020 elections.

e. Whether or not the declaration of 9th December, 2020 breached article 63 of the 1992            constitution.

2. Mode of trial: Petitioner is to file witness statements or exhibits if any, by Thursday, 21st January, 2021 and the Registrar is to ensure service on Respondents. Respondent to respond by 22nd January, 2021 and the Registrar should serve same that day.

3. Respondents to file their submission on preliminary objection by Friday 22nd January, 2021 and Petitioner to respond by Monday, 25th January, 2020.

4. Hearing of the matter shall commence on 26th January, 2021 and the decision on the preliminary objection shall be incorporated in the final judgment.

Meanwhile, after the orders by the court, counsel for Petitioner, Mr Tsikata, drew the attention of the court to the fact that they had filed a review application on the ruling on interrogatories and that could affect the issues.

The court responded to the submission by the Lead Counsel for the Petitioner that a review application was not a stay of proceedings, hence the matter could proceed while the review is heard especially when the court is operating under strict timelines based on the provisions of the law.

Thursday 28th January is the date set for the hearing on the review.

However, the former Deputy Attorney General under the erstwhile Mahama government, Dr Dominic Ayine was rebuked by the court for making gestures that the court deemed offensive.

The court, thus, cautioned him to avoid making such gesticulations in the courtroom from the gallery.

Mr Mahama’s lead counsel submitted to the court that expedition should not be sacrificed for justice and that the timelines on witness statements is very short but the court also reiterated that as petitioners, they are expected to be ready since they intended to file five witness statements and the respondents were also being given the same time.

The case was adjourned to Tuesday, January 26, 2021.

 

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