Politics

SC rules Jean Mensa, Mac Manu cannot be forced to testify

The Supreme Court has ruled that the first and second respondents in the ongoing election petition, EC Chair Jean Mensa and the governing New Patriotic Party’s Peter Mac Manu, respectively, cannot be forced to mount the dock.

The Supreme Court on Thursday in unanimous decision upheld the decision of the first and second respondents not to call witnesses in the ongoing election petition, giving a major blow to the petitioner, John Dramani Mahama.

The ruling comes after an application filed by lead counsel for the Electoral Commission, Justine Amenuvor and that of President Akufo-Addo, Akoto Ampaw, asking for permission not to call any witness.

During court proceedings on Thursday, 11 February 2021, the Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah who read the ruling said the 7-member panel ruled in favor of the respondents owing the contrary arguments by Tsatsu Tsikata, lead counsel for the petitioner were not convincing.

“We are minded to state that our jurisdiction invoked in this election petition is a limited jurisdiction clearly circumscribed by law”, adding: “We do not intend to extend our mandate beyond what the law requires of us in such petitions brought under Article 64 (1) challenging the validity of the election of a president”.

“Simply put, we are not convinced, and we will not yield to the invitation being extended to us by counsel for the petitioner, to order the respondent to enter the witness box to be cross-examined”.

“Accordingly, we hereby overrule the objection raised by the counsel for the petitioner against the decision of the respondents declining to adduce evidence in this petition,” the Chief Justice added.

Counsel for the President, Nana Akufo-Addo and the Electoral Commission (EC) have indicated that they will not present any witnesses in the case ongoing election petition case.

Following the conclusion of the cross-examination of the petitioner, John Mahama’s 3rd witness, Rojo Mettle Nunoo, the defense lawyers were to open their defense by announcing their witnesses.

They however, unexpectedly announced that they will not call any witness.

Justine Amenuvor, representing the Electoral Commission (EC) in the case told the court that, “it is our case that we would not wish to lead any further evidence, and therefore we are praying that this matter proceeds under order 36 rule 43 and C.I. 87 rule 3 (5) and we hereby on that basis, close our case.”

Lead counsel for President Nana Akufo-Addo, Akoto Ampaw also made a similar request.

Akoto Ampaw argued that the petitioner has not been able to make a solid case in court hence such a decision.

This decision was fiercely resisted by Mahama’s lead counsel, Tsatsu Tsikata.

By: Bernard Ralph Adams

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