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Tsatsu makes case for video evidence of events in EC’s strong room

Lead Counsel for the petitioners in the ongoing election petition hearing, Tsatsu Tsikata, is making a case for video recordings of happenings in the strong room of the 1st Respondent, the Electoral Commission (EC) during last year’s elections, to be played in court to support the witness statement of Mr Rojo Mettle Nunoo, one of the petitioner’ witnesses.

Tsatsu objected to a move by lawyer for the 2nd Respondent, Akoto Ampaw, to get paragraph five of the witness statement thrown out. Mr Ampaw wanted that part dismissed on the heels that it was not borne out of pleadings.

Paragraph 5 of Mr Nunoo’s statement said: “The EC had a video documentary person recording the events in the strong room and I have no doubt that if that documentary is made available in its authentic version it will confirm what I am saying in this witness statement about things that occurred in the strong room.”

Mr Tsiktata told the court that “Second witness said there was somebody taking video commentaries. That evidence was not objected to, that evidence is before you and we are respectfully submitting that what is stated in Paragraph 5 is no different from what is already before you about the video documentary.
“All that this witness is adding is that he is willing to put his credibility on the line so that if anybody wants to have recourse to the video they are entitled to.

“Depending on the cross-examination we may indeed come before you with an application that that video should be produced in court and played.”

Mr. Robert Joseph Mettle Nunoo had said in his witness statement that the Chair of the Electoral Commission (EC), Jean Mensa told him that, all the concerns he had raised in the strong room against the collation of the presidential results were genuine.

He added that Mrs Mensa told him those concerns were going to be addressed.

“My colleague, Dr Michael Kpessa-Whyte, and, I on many occasions pointed out errors in the figures and words on the sheets that were brought in which ultimately affected totals and assigned results. This sometimes led to EC officials making phone calls on the basis of which they sought to explain and correct some of the things we pointed out.

“I cannot tell to whom those phone calls were made. I cannot tell if the calls were to EC officials to some other people who were also involved in the collation process. There was no transparent process in this regard.

“At a point, I went to the office of the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission on 8th December 2020, I wanted to bring to her attention that what was going on in the strong room could not lead to a declaration of the results at the end of the day, as she had promised the country. She actually told me, in response, that the concerns I had raised were genuine and she would have them looked into.”

“Mrs. Jean Mensa informed me that there had been a meeting held earlier in the day between the Petitioner and the Peace Council, something I was unaware of at the time.

“After I further drew her attention to some of the issues that were coming up in the interactions in the strong room, she said very directly that we should go and speak with the Petitioner. Having regard to her earlier reference to the meeting between the Peace Council and the Petitioner, which she had obviously been briefed about, I took seriously what she said.

“I do not think we, who were acting as agents of the Petitioner, should be seen as taking positions which many be contrary to what the Petitioner himself and had conveyed in a meeting that I was unaware of with a body such as the Peace Council which, I know has an important role in resolving disputes in connection with elections and calming tensions in the country.

“She indicated her own willingness to meet with the Petitioner.”

Regarding whether or not the chairperson of the 1st Respondent, Jean Mensa asked him and Dr Michael Kpessa-Whyte to leave the strong room, he said “Yet my colleague and I realised with a shock, on our reaching the residence of the Petitioner that the EC Chairperson was in the process of announcing results. Attempts I made to reach the Chairperson of the EC by telephone for clarification proved futile as she had turned off her phones.”

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