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25.01.2021 Headlines

Dismiss Mahama’s baseless stay of proceedings application – Akufo-Addo tells Supreme Court

Dismiss Mahama’s baseless stay of proceedings application – Akufo-Addo tells Supreme Court
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Lawyers for President Nana Akufo-Addo have asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the application for stay of Proceeding filed by John Mahama in the election petition.

Mr. Mahama wants the Supreme Court to halt the hearing on the main Election Petition until a determination is made on his request for review of an earlier decision taken by the Supreme Court.

Kwaku Asirifi, one of the president’s lawyers in an affidavit in opposition to the application said: “there is no merit whatsoever in the application for stay of proceedings, as the interrogatories that Petitioner sought to serve on [the EC] were either totally irrelevant to the determination of the Petition or not in respect of issues in controversy arising from the pleadings.”

“The application for review has absolutely no chance of success and can therefore hardly be a basis for seeking to stay proceedings in this Court pending the disposal of same,” he added.

He further described the application as a “calculated attempt to frustrate the determination of the Petition in a just and expeditious manner.”

He said the Pre-trial and hearing of the Petition would have proceeded smoothly according to statutorily prescribed time but for the “needless interlocutory processes filed by the petitioner.”

“Instead of complying with the statutorily prescribed timelines, Petitioner’s legal team is misleading the public that 20th January 2021, was only the 2nd day of the pre-trial timetable. In the circumstances, it lies ill in the mouth of Petitioner to be suggesting that justice is being sacrificed on the altar of expedition.”

“It is untenable for Petitioner having filed his Petition as far back as 30th December 2020, to claim on 20th January 2021, that he is unable to file his Witness Statements without 151 Respondent’s response to his request to admit facts, interrogatories, and notice to inspect documents. Indeed, the substance of the Petitioner’s witness statements should have been known to him prior to filing the Petition.”

The stay of proceedings application was filed on Thursday, January 21, 2021, and will be heard on Tuesday, January 26, 2021. Motion for review

Mr. Mahama, through his lawyers last week filed a motion at the court seeking a review of the Supreme Court's ruling denying him the opportunity to put some 12 direct questions [interrogatories] to the Electoral Commission, which he argued would have helped narrow down the issues for trial.

The court in dismissing the application said the petitioner failed to convince the court on the relevance of the questions and as such, denied the petitioner the application.

“The court is of the opinion that the crucial issue of relevancy has not been established in this application…We accordingly refuse to grant the application and same is accordingly dismissed,” portions of the ruling by the seven-member panel of Justices hearing the case stated.

Some of the information Mahama's legal team led by Tsatsu Tsikata was seeking answers to, included, the manner in which the results of the 2020 presidential polls were transmitted and the level of involvement of the National Communications Authority (NCA) in the process.

On Wednesday, January 20, 2021, lawyer for former President John Mahama, Tsatsu Tsikata, in the ongoing election petition case challenged the timelines announced by the Supreme Court for the hearing of the petition, suggesting that the court seems to be rushing the case.

— citinewsroom

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