Home News Our jurisdiction over elections is limited – Supreme Court

Our jurisdiction over elections is limited – Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court has told the parties involved in the ongoing election petition hearing that the powers of the highest court of the land in electoral matters are limited.

To that end, the Court said it cannot compel any witness in the ongoing hearing to mount the witness box to testify.

“We are minded to state that our jurisdiction to invoke this Election Petition is a limited jurisdiction, merely circumscribed by law. We do not intend to extend our mandate as the law report requires of us in such petition before us challenging the validity of the election of a president.

“Simply put, we are not convinced by 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 moved by Counsel for the petitioner against the decision of the respondents,” the Chief Justice Anin Yeboah said in a ruling on whether or not the Chair of the Electoral Commission (EC) can mount the witness box for cross examination.

Lawyer for the petitioner in the ongoing election petition hearing Tsatsu Tsikata, after the court ruling on Thursday, served notice to re-open his case to enable him subpoena Chair of the Electoral Commission Jean Adukwei Mensa.

Mr Tsikata told the court on Thursday, February 11 that: “We are applying to reopen our case and on that basis we are issuing a subpoena addressed to the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Ghana.”

This comes after the Supreme Court said Mrs Adukwei Mensa and the Campaign Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in last year’s elections, Peter Mac Manu, cannot be compelled to mount the witness box to be cross-examined in the ongoing election petition.

During proceedings on Tuesday, February 9, lawyers for the 1st and 2nd respondents, Justin Amenuvor and Akoto Ampaw respectively, told the Court that the petitioner cannot compel them to elect witnesses to appear in the witness box.

During legal arguments on a move by the respondents not to testify in the case, Mr Akoto Ampaw told the Court: “The petitioner cannot compel us to enter the witness box to adduce evidence.”

He added: “The petitioner has adduced evidence and closed his case. We have taken the position that in our assessment, they have not discharged the burden of proof and the burden of producing evidence and, therefore, we will not give further evidence and the Court will determine the case on the evidence before it

Lawyers for the two respondents on Monday, February 8 moved to close their cases without their witnesses being cross-examined.

This was after Counsel for the petitioner Tsatsu Tsikata closed his case.

Mr Tsikata, for his part, told the court during the legal arguments that the chair of the 1st Respondent, Jean Mensa, cannot skip cross-examination.

He argued that by filing a witness statement, the 1st Respondent has opened her up for cross-examination.

“It is our respectful submission that by filing its witness statement the first respondent has clearly crossed the bridge as far as opening the witness up for cross-examination is concerned. That bridge has been crossed, the ship has already been sailed,” Tsatsu said in his argument to the bench.

But the court dismissed his objection on the basis that a witness cannot be compelled to mount the witness box.

Following the court’s decision, Mr Tsikata applied for a review of the ruling.

“We also intend to apply for a review of the ruling,” he said.

Hearing has been adjourned to Thursday, February 18.

Source: 3 News

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