By Our Reporter
The seven-member Supreme Court panel hearing the case of John Dramani Mahama (Petitioner) versus Electoral Commission (1st Respondent) and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (2nd Respondent), has given the Petitioner a second opportunity to file his witness statements in compliance with the orders of the court which were issued on the 20th of January 2021 or risk forcing it to dismiss the petition as stipulated by CI 99.
In the said orders of the Supreme Court on the 20th of January 2021, the petitioner was instructed to file his witness statements by 12 noon on the 21st of January 2021. The Respondents were also ordered to file their witness statements by close of day on the 21st of January 2021.
Lawyers of the Petitioner however failed to comply with these orders but rather filed an application for stay of proceedings at the Supreme Court pending the determination of a review application they (lawyers of the Petitioner) had filed on their dismissed application to serve interrogatories on the 1st Respondent (Electoral Commission).
When the Supreme Court constituted yesterday, the 26th of January 2021, the seven Justices were visibly unhappy about the fact that the Petitioner disregarded their orders to file witness statements.
After some few enquiries from Tony Lithur, lawyer for the Petitioner, the court rose for about 30 minutes for deliberations and returned with orders which essentially gave the Petitioner another chance to file his witness statements. It is expected that the Petitioner will be filing about five (5) witness statements as indicated in his 30th of December 2020 petition, as filed.
According to the Supreme Court, it relied solely on rule 69 (4B) of the Constitutional Instrument (C. I. 99) which states, “the Court may (a) dismiss the petition, where the petitioner fails to file the processes regarding the petition within the specified time; or (b) hear and determine the petition, where the respondents fail to file their answers or the processes regarding their answer within the specified time.”
To this end, the Presiding Judge, Chief Justice Anin Yeboah, cautioned the Petitioner and his lawyers that should they fail to comply with the second window of opportunity they had been given, the court would employ fully the dictates of rule 69 (4B), which will mean, their petition will be dismissed. The court subsequently adjourned sitting to Thursday 28 January 2021 for the petition to take its natural course.