Friday, June 14, 2024

Election Petition: We’ve a very strong case; we came prepared, ready for the long haul – Appiah-Opong

Former President John Mahama’s legal team has said it is well-prepared for the ongoing election petition at the Supreme Court and ready to see it through till the very end.

“We still think we have a very strong case, we are very very certain about the case we have before the court irrespective of the fact that our application has been refused, we came to court prepared, we are ready to continue with the case and we will go through with the case till the very end”, former Attorney General Marietta Appiah-Opong told journalists on Wednesday, 3 February 2021 after the apex court, by unanimous decision, declined a request by Mr Mahama to be allowed to inspect the original documents of the Electoral Commission concerning the results of the 2020 presidential polls, which he is challenging in court.

The EC, according to former Mrs Appiah-Opong, is “supposed to be an impartial part” of the 2020 polls and, thus, wondered why the election management body resisted Mr Mahama’s request for the original pink sheets and collation forms for inspection.

“What do they have to hide? What prejudice would be occasioned to them if they produced the document for us to see? Now whatsoever”, she said.

In her opinion, “If you conducted your activities as EC Chair fairly, transparently, impartially, why will you not produce the documents for us to see?”

The court, in a unanimous decision, declined the request.

The panel of Justices, after arguments from Mr Mahama’s lead counsel Tsatsu Tsikata and counter-arguments from the lead counsel of the first and second respondents, respectively, ruled that the former President had not demonstrated the amount of necessity needed to grant such a request.

The presidential candidate of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), filed the application on Tuesday.

So far, Mr Mahama, who is challenging the validity of the 2020 presidential results, has had two of his witnesses – Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, General Secretary of the NDC; and Dr Michael Kpessa-Whyte, who served as an observation agent of the party – appear before the court to give evidence and get cross-examined.

Mr Mahama, through his legal team led by Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, wanted access to the EC’s original constituency presidential election result collation forms for all constituencies, constituency presidential election results summary sheet, regional presidential election summary sheets for all regions, and the declaration of the presidential results form.

Mr Mahama filed the application after the EC turned down his earlier requests to that end.

Among other things, Mr Tsikata argued in court on Wednesday that the documents were required for a fair hearing and wondered what the EC could be hiding by its refusal to release them for inspection.

In his view, it was in the interest of the EC for the documents to be released if it truly believed in transparency.

However, Mr Amenuvor, lead counsel for the EC, first respondent, raised issues with the timing of the request and said the Petitioner was resorting to the request to aid him to adduce further evidence but said evidence cannot be led in a piecemeal manner.

He also wondered why the Petitioner would make such a request when he had all the duplicate copies of the documents in question.

Similarly, Mr Akoto Ampaw, lead counsel for President Nana Akufo-Addo, the second respondent, told the court that the “Petitioner was using the right to a fair hearing to conjure away the burden of proof” since, according to him, he had all the carbon copies of the documents he wanted to request.

Both counsels for the two respondents insisted that the Petitioner’s application did not meet the necessity requirement.

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