President John Dramani Mahama has accepted a request from Kenya toÂ champion their cause for an expansion of Amisom troops at this week’s African Union (AU) Summit, noting that peace and security remain vital to the growth of the continent.
Kenya’s Deputy President, William arap Ruto, in a discussion with President Mahama in Accra on Sunday, said that his country wants the Amisom troops in Somalia expanded.
The security situation in Somalia which continues to threaten Kenya because of the porous border between the two continues is negatively affecting security in Kenya.
Minister for Information and Media Relations, Mahama Ayariga told journalists after a closed door meeting between President Mahama and Mr. Ruto that the Kenyans are eager to see a Somalia that is stable in order to reduce the threats on its security.
Former President Jerry Rawlings, who is serving as AU’s Special Envoy to Somalia, has been working tirelessly to manage the situation there.
In addition to the security threats, Kenya is also facing other challenges including hosting a high number of Ethiopian refugees.
The two leaders also discussed constraints to increased intra African trade and agreed that the continent’s leaders must work to improve trade among countries on the continent.
Present at the meeting were Chief of Staff, Prosper Bani and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Regional Integration, Hanna S. Tetteh.
The District Chief Executive (DCE) of Kintampo South in the Brong Ahafo region, Kojo Nyame Datiakwa is reported to have assaulted an assemblyman, who led a group of concerned drivers to his office at Jema, near Kintampo last Wednesday.
Eyewitnesses told DAILY GUIDEÂ that the DCE, during the discussion with the concerned drivers which became a stand-off, flared up and angrily marched the Assemblyman for the Chirehin Electoral Area, Bright Appau and the drivers out of his office.
According to eye witnesses, Mr Datiakwa opened his door and in attempt to drive his guests out of his office, hit the assemblyman on the back of his head which nearly landed him on the floor.
The alleged action of the DCE, which surprised many including the drivers, created a scene at his office as he shouted on top of his voice, âleave my office, leave my office,â to attract a lot of people to the place.
The assemblyman, Mr. Appau, who confirmed the incident toÂ DAILY GUIDE, said he had officially petitioned the Presiding Member of the Assembly, who is the head of the Complaint Committee, to call the DCE to order.
The Assemblyman said he decided to resort to internal structures within the assembly to seek redress instead of reporting the case to the police.
Mr Datiakwa confirmed that he drove the assemblyman and the drivers out of his office, but denied claims that he assaulted anyone.
âI did not assault him. I have never assaulted anyone before and I donât plan to assault anyone. But I did ask them to leave my office. I opened the door and asked them to leave,â the DCE stated.
According to the DCE, he spent a lot of time with the assemblyman and the drivers and wanted to attend to other visitors, but they insisted on staying.
Mr. Datiakwa said the accusations were being made to embarrass him, saying âHe (the assemblyman) wanted to cause an embarrassment to me because I did not hit him, and even if he was hit at all it wasnât me.â
The Assemblyman met the DCE in his office following a complaint he received from drivers who ply their trade in his electoral area about the decision by the DCE to use the police to relocate them from their current station at Jema to a new place with no justification.
Mr. Appau said he made an appointment with the DCE and led the leadership of the drivers to the office.
He said the DCE was not ready to listen to the grievances of the drivers as he was bent implementing the plans.
He indicated that in the course of the discussion, the DCE, who seemed impatient with the drivers, asked them to leave his office.
The concerned drivers corroborated the claims of the assemblyman, saying the DCE rudely drove them out of his office and hit the Assemblyman in the process.
They accused the DCE of disregarding an agreement entered into with executives of PROTOA from Kintampo and forcibly destroy the lorry station sat Jema.
Â FROM Fred Tettey Alarti-Amoako, Sunyani
Minority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has fired back at Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the man caught in GHÂ˘51million judgment debt scandal who is currently being prosecuted in court.
Mr Woyome, a financier of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), alleged in some ârented pressâ that Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu met him at Schipol Airport Amsterdam ran away from him.
However, in a succinctly-worded statement, the minority leader described Woyomeâs claim as âpalpable untruth,â cautioning the NDC financier not to âover exaggerate his strength, if any.â
âThe statement that I saw Alfred Agbesi Woyome at Schipol Airport and ran away can only come from somebody who wants to find relevance for himself,â Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who is also the Member of Parliament for Suame stated.
The Minority Leader wondered why Woyome would even imagine that he (Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu) would see him and run away.
âThe Attorney-General has stated on behalf of the people of Ghana of which Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu is one, that Mr. Woyome through misrepresentation has defrauded the Republic. As a responsible and obedient citizen I believe same to be true.
âAlfred Woyome must be assured that I do not run away from people who engage in corruption of whatever kind and colour, I confront them.
âWoyome can tickle himself and laugh for now for whatever that is meant to achieve but let him not over exaggerate his strength, if any. The truth certainly will catch up with him sooner or later,â Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu warned.
Explaining further, the minority leader indicated that in late March 2013, he travelled through Schipol International Airport enroute to Ecuador.
He said while in transit and upon entering the main Schipol airport building, an officer of the Ghana Embassy in Amsterdam caught up with him and said the Ambassador had requested him (Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu) to come to the VIP lounge, which he obliged.
According to him, all this happened in less than five minutes after he entered the building and there was no Woyome in sight.
âIf he Woyome saw me then perhaps he found his own level and pigeon-holed himself somewhere.
âI stayed in the VIP lounge together with Hon. Hannah Tetteh, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Ambassador, Ms. Anna Ennin until our respective flights were ready and we departed from the VIP lounge. There was no Alfred Agbesi Woyome in sight at the VIP lounge,â Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu reiterated.
He explained further that on his way back from the USA, he again transited at the Schipol Airport and got to the KLM lounge.
Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu maintained that just when he found a seat at lounge, a young man approached and introduced himself as an official of one of the petroleum exploiting firms in the Western Region and they had brief talks.
He said in the course of the discourse, an officer from the Ghana Embassy who had apparently come to the lounge, caused an announcement to be made to search for him.
âThe officer and I then left together with a young boy who had just arrived from UK and who was to join me,â the minority leader pointed out.
He emphasized that after some documentation which lasted for about 10 minutes, he and the young boy boarded a KLM flight back to Accra.
âThere was no Alfred Agbesi Woyome in sight, certainly nowhere near where I was with the Embassy official at Schipol airport or where I sat in the plane,â the minority leader disclosed.
Â By Awudu Mahama
In search of the âvalued documentsâ ironically, the motor riders whose identities were not immediately known, stormed the Commercial Court in Accra last Thursday evening, instead of the Supreme Court.
The suspects, who were now languishing in cells at the Ministries Police Station, dashed to the court after it was announced that KPMG, the accounting and auditing firm, had accepted to audit the pink sheets free of charge.
It was also not known who sent them on such a delicate mission.
When the young men turned up at the Commercial Court in search of the contentious pink sheets, they were received nicely by an official of the court.
Having put forth their weird request, the court official subdued his surprise and assured his unusual guests that he was going to fetch the keys so he could open the vault where the pinks sheets were being kept.
They waited and held their breath, but instead of returning with the pink sheets, their host came with policemen who whisked them away, ending their wild adventure.
The police were tight-lipped over details of the two adventurers and what informed their confidence to venture so close to the court on such an impossible mission.
The incident was the second weird episode to befall the election 2012 pink sheets.
National security personnel who turned up at the Supreme Court a fortnight ago seeking access to the documents so they could render a special protection to them made unsavoury headlines for the National Security Co-ordinator, Lt. Col. Larry Gbevlo-Lartey (rtd).
Members of the public became more alarmed when they learnt that it was the General Secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) who had ordered the national security operatives to go and protect the pink sheets.
The Judicial Secretary, Justice Opoku Acheampong did not accept the offer of protection, stating that it was not needed.
There had been a marked police presence at the Supreme Court since then.
The hearing of the election petition resumes today at the Supreme Court where NDC lead counsel, Tsatsu Tsikata is cross-examining Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the petitionersâ star witness.
By A.R. Gomda
Activities at the Calvary Methodist Church at Adabraka in Accra last Saturday came to a standstill, as sympathizers who turned up for a memorial Â service for a woman and her son, both of whom passed away recently, all rushed to catch a glimpse of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
The attendance for the memorial service was unusual, with a long line of vehicles snaking along the road on the side of the church towards the Electoral Commission head office.
The same vehicular traffic situation was replicated on the frontage of the church facing the main road from the Psychiatric Hospital towards the TUC traffic intersection.
The church was bursting at its seams even as the compound itself overflowed with sympathizers who were there to pay their last respects to the deceased persons- Mary Quaicoo and her son, Frederick Minta Quaicoo.
The star witness in the ongoing election petition hearing, Dr. Bawumia, said he was at the church to pay his last respects to the late Mrs. Quaicoo, and her son, whose death occurred in London three weeks after his mumâs.
Dr Bawumia however became the cynosure of the solemn occasion as many mourners who were excited by his presence chanted âBawumia, Bawumia, Bawumiaâ, temporarily disrupting the proceedings for close to 30 minutes.
Dr. Bawumiaâs bodyguards worked extra hard to keep the crowd from falling on him, as he made his way into the church.
After taking his seat, another bout of applause erupted when the pastor formally acknowledged his presence.
At the end of the programme, came the unofficial yet disorderly photo session, as everybody rushed to have a picture with the guest.
Before one could say Jack, commercial photographers who had swarmed the place had mounted makeshift stands to sell Dr. Bawumiaâs pictures, which were lapped so quickly that observers marvelled how the young man had become so popular among many Ghanaians.
The election petition hearing, many concluded, had projected Dr. Bawumiaâs image beyond the election campaign session last year.
âNot even the IEA-sponsored presidential and vice presidential debate has projected his name as the election petition hearing has,â quipped a curious onlooker.
Many of Dr. Bawumiaâs admirers were setting eyes on him for the first time.
Even as the pastor conducted the service, some attendees occasionally turned to look at the ever-smiling Dr. Bawumia.
Those who could not turn up for the service were said to have expressed regret for missing the opportunity to meet the man whose name is more synonymous with the election petition hearing than being a running mate to the NPP flagbearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo during the last election.
By A.R. Gomda
Yaw Osafo Marfo, former Minister of Finance, has urged government to allow the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) by people at the grassroots level.
He said the election of MMDCEs would help reduce the âwinner takes allâ attitude that has characterized Ghanaâs political system and deepen grassroots democracy.
Mr Osafo Maafo said this on Thursday at the 2013 B.J. da Rocha memorial lectures on the theme: âB.J. da Rocha, the Politician.â
He said after adopting constitutional rule in 1992, Ghana has come of age to find an antidote to the âwinner takes allâ attitude which cripples progress.
âOne of the best ways to find an antidote to the âwinner takes allâ attitude is to give power to the people at the grassroots level to elect their MMDCEs where the contesting candidates are from different political parties,â he said.
Mr. Osafo Maafo said if political parties are allowed to present their candidates to contest, the victory of any candidate would heavily depend on the popularity of his/her party in the area and that would allow members of other parties other than the ruling party to also contribute in the administration of the country.
He disagreed with the assertion that if elected, those who do not belong to the ruling party would sabotage the government.
He said they would rather do a good job since they may have to go back to the people to seek their votes.
Mr. Osafo Maafo said there is much suspicion in the political landscape and it is creating barrier for integration.
âI was recently invited by the Harvard University to share my experience to some 20 finance ministers from Africa but unfortunately, I cannot do same with the Finance Minister in my own country because of the suspicion that has characterised our politics,â he said.
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, yesterday stormed the capital city, Accra, with a retinue of chiefs on what appears to be a peace mission during which he met political gladiators of the country.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said he was in Accra to deliver a public lecture put together by the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE), under the theme, âAdvancing Togetherâ, which was part of its annual Democracy Lectures.
He however seized the opportunity to meet some key and influential people in the country, namely President John Dramani Mahama, whose election is being disputed in court, former President Jerry John Rawlings and Presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 2012 general elections, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Unfortunately, he could not meet former President John Agyekum Kufuor since he was out of the country.
One thing that ran through his discussions with all three political leaders was the ongoing election petition before the Supreme Court.
He urged all the parties to abide by the outcome of the court process.
First was his meeting with President Mahama at the Flagstaff House where he urged the President to do all it takes to surmount the myriad of problems facing the nation, chief among which was unemployment and what had come to be known as âdumsor-dumsorâ, the intermittent power outages that had beset the nation.
President Mahama on his part stressed the belief that the court process would unite Ghanaians more than it would divide them.
âAt a time when people think the nation is being buffeted by some uncertainty as a result of this court case, I do think it strengthens our democracy that even though we have a dispute, or somebody contesting the results of the elections, he has decided to go to court and we are giving the court the opportunity to listen to his grievance and find out whether it is genuine or not.
âI think that it goes to strengthen our democracy that Ghana continues to show the way in terms of good governance, democracy and rule of law,â he was quoted as saying.
From there, the Asantehene and his entourage went to meet former President Rawlings at his Ridge office where the NDC founder called on commentators on the election petition to present the facts as they were being told in court and desist from twisting and reshaping facts to fit into peopleâs prejudices and political agenda.
This, he said, was in view of the fact that twisted or misshaped information would not augur well for Ghanaâs future and stability.
âIt is beginning to seem as if people are listening only to what they want to hear and not the findings and evidence that are being provided daily; this is not right,â Mr Rawlings noted.
On his part, the Asantehene commended Mr Rawlings for the role he played in reinstituting constitutional democratic governance.
Present at the meeting were Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings and spokesman for Mr Rawlings, Kofi Adams.
Nana Addoâs Commitment
Otumfuo and members of his delegation then moved to the Nima residence of Nana Akufo-Addo where he was met on arrival by his host and other high ranking members of the NPP.
After the exchange of conviviality, the two went into discussions during which Otumfuo commended the NPP leader and his supporters for taking the noble decision to challenge the outcome of the 2012 elections in court and not on the streets with protests.
He therefore asked not only Nana Akufo-Addo but all the parties involved in the ongoing election petition to do well in the spirit of nationalism to accept the outcome of the Supreme Court ruling.
As always, the NPP leader pledged his partyâs commitment to whatever the outcome of the court case would be since they believed in the rule of law.
That notwithstanding, he said, âIâm confident that when the truth comes out, that is what will bring the peace and unity that we all seek in Ghana.â
Nana Akufo-Addo therefore asked the Ashanti King to advise whoever was involved in the case before the Supreme Court to also accept the verdict in good faith.
Nana Addo reiterated his commitment to maintaining and supporting the peace prevailing in the country.
According to him, NPP members and supporters would not indulge in any acts that would destabilise the country.
He told Otumfuo Osei Tutu that the good record of the NPP was there to show that they were a peace-loving party, and had always accepted the outcome of elections organized by the Electoral Commission.
He however pointed out that the party decided to go to court this time around because of the widespread irregularities that characterized the 2012 December general elections.
Flanked by his wife, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, Dr. Bawumia, Party Chairman Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey and a host of other party officials, Nana Akufo-Addo said the irregularities that characterized the 2012 December general elections could not make the results a true reflection of the will of Ghanaians.
âWe respect and believe in the Supreme Court, that is why we have petitioned them and we will accept any decision or verdict they make,â he said.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu
President John Mahama has lauded the ongoing Presidential Election Petition which is challenging his legitimacy as president.
He said the petition will strengthen Ghanaâs democracy in no small way.
He was speaking to the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II at the Flagstaff House on Friday.
The Ashanti King is in Accra to address a lecture on democracy on Friday. The lecture is being organised by the National Commission on Civic Education.
Describing Otumfuo as a âSolomonicâ figure, the President urged the King to use his position and influence to unite the people during the lecture.
Commenting on the ongoing Election Petition the president said contrary to fears that the petition will divide the country he said it would rather strengthen the countryâs democracy.
âAt a time when people think the nation is being buffeted by some uncertainty as a result of this court case I do think it strengthens our democracy that even though we have a dispute, or somebody contest the results of the elections he has decided to go to court and we are giving the court the opportunity to listen to his grievance and find out whether it is genuine or not.
âI think that it goes to strengthen our democracy that Ghana continues to show the way in terms good governance, democracy and rule of law,â he emphasised.
Joy Newsâ Presidential Correspondent Seth Kwame Boateng says the president has since moved into a crunch meeting with security chiefs to find lasting solution to the violent gun attacks in parts of the country.
The persistent argument with panel members trying the landmark Presidential Election Petition currently at the Supreme Court coupled with the use of uncivil language almost landed Tsatsu Tsikata, lead counsel for ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), in trouble.
For making a statement that, âThis is not the time to be retrograde in the way we proceed,â the NDC lawyer was reprimanded by the bench for such indecorous language.
âCounsel, I donât know whether you are getting angry. Please mind your language,â Justice Vida Akoto Bamfo warned.
Yesterday, while addressing the bench, Mr. Tsikata, who has been criticised several times for using rather strong language in court, described the manner the judges were handling a particular argument as âretrogradingâ. The Supreme Court judges took particular exception to this statement and were quick to issue him a stern caution.
âMind your language,â a soft spoken Justice Akoto-Bamfo, a member of the panel warned the NDC counsel after he made a comment that seemed to have ruffled the feathers of the bench.
Mr Tsikata earned the reprimand while trying to tender a list he prepared exclusively before continuing his cross-examination of Dr Mahamudu Bawumia but Mr. Addison raised an objection.
Mr. Addison: My lords, we are objecting to the tendering of this listâŚ (Justice Atuguba intervenes)
Justice Atuguba: I donât understand, exhibit 32 is in evidence?
Counsel: No, but this is a further listâŚ
Justice Atuguba: A different 32?
Counsel: Itâs not a different 32, my lords, I think I made myself very clear; this list is in reference to exhibit NDC 32, but in this list reference is made to the counterpart serial number information that has been provided, and in addition to that counterpart serial number, we provided the information about the duplicates which is the one the witness has confirmedâŚ(He tries frantically to justify the need to tender this contentious list as part of exhibit NDC 32 which was already in evidence, claiming the witness has confirmed it). The witness has confirmed it and my lords; this is no time to just retrograde in the way that we proceed in respect of… (Justice Akoto-Bamfo cuts in, obviously not pleased with the tone and the choice of words being used by counsel)
Justice Akoto-Bamfo: Counsel, counsel, I donât know whether you are getting angryâŚ
Counsel: No, my lords, I cannot be angry, your lordships.
Justice Akoto-Bamfo: So please mind your language, thatâs all that I can sayâŚ (Justice Atuguba adds to the caution)
Justice Atuguba: Yes, letâs avoid presumptuous languageâŚ
Mr. Tsikata eventually apologised to the court and offered to explain the context within which he made the statement insisting that he did not mean to be disrespectful to the court.
He said his comments had been misconstrued and that he rather wanted the trial to move speedily.
On Wednesday when Mr. Tsikata appeared to be ending his laborious cross-examination, he said he would conclude âsubsequentâ to the petitionersâ provision of a list of counterpart polling stations that shared same serial numbers during the election, which had become a contentious issue in the case.
Dr. Bawumia agreed to provide the list and when it was finally brought, Mr Tsikata said he was not going to tender what the petitioners brought to the court.
As he asked Dr. Bawumia to identify a list he (Tsikata) had prepared and appeared to be asking questions based on that list, the petitioners lead counsel, Phillip Addison, asked him to first tender it and the questions could flow from there.
Mr. Addison: My lords, the questions that counsel has been asking arise out of information that we have supplied to them, and we think that these documents should first be tendered so that the questions can follow.
Counsel (Tsatsu): (Pulling out the supplementary list drawn out of the main list) My lords, we wish to tender that list, a list which reads âSame Serial Number and Counterpart Duplicateâ. Reference number NDC 33.
Mr. Addison: My lords, we are saying that list arises out of the information that we have supplied so our document-the pairing-, should go in [for tendering] firstâŚ
Counsel: Well, as you can see, we have presented the information from that on this list that we are tendering. So for my cross-examination at the moment, the material is available for him [the witness] to answer.Â At the appropriate time, they can tender the information that they have provided in its bulk.
Justice Atuguba: In any case, we also need it. If it is not in evidence, we canât follow (Counsel explained the rationale for extracting their own list from the petitionersâ master list, but his explanation did not appear to have convinced the bench enough, causing Justice Jones Victor Dotse to step in)
Justice Dotse: Mr. Tsikata, I think the problem really arises because while you and counsel for the petitioners – and possibly the witness-, have new lists which have been formatted according to the list which you presented, we donât have any. So anytime you make reference to their list, we donât have anything to match our records with. That is why we think it would be useful to have those lists tendered for us to go on along with you.
Counsel: Very wellâŚMy lords I take it that they are seeking to tender themâŚ (Murmuring in the courtroom) My lords, with respect, we asked for information in order not to have the courtâs time taken through every one (of the pink sheets in the list) and the point Iâm making is that, in terms of the information provided, and for the purposes of my cross-examination, the information that they have provided is included in what we are tendering [the supplementary list from the petitionersâ list], so what we are tendering actually addresses the issue that his lordship was asking aboutâŚwe can tender this (the supplementary list), we donât need to tender their information list because itâs not part of our caseâŚ(Justice Atuguba interrupts by trying to seek further clarification on the various lists emanating from the list of duplicate polling stations)
Counsel: My lords, we have no problem with him (witness) refreshing his memory with the list that he composed and thatâs exactly what is happening; he is using that. My lords, with respect, I must be clear, I do not intend to tender their listâŚ
Justice Atuguba: Thatâs why I am saying that if the witness in using his list would facilitate your cross-examination that is going on, why canât he put it in?
Counsel: My lords, the petitioners are not presenting their case at the moment (Justice Atuguba interrupts)
Justice Atuguba: No, no, no, in cross-examination, it is evidence relating to your questions in cross-examination; it is something that the answers he is giving and it canât go in [in evidence]?
Counsel: My lords, it cannot at this stage go in as my exhibit.
Justice Atuguba: Thatâs why I am saying that it will go in as his.
Counsel: My lords, Iâm not really familiar with a situation where during cross-examination, you can have counsel for the petitioners tendering exhibits. Iâm not familiar with thatâŚ (Justice Atuguba laughs and cuts in).
Justice Atuguba: So if you elicit a fact from the witness, and its documentary, and itâs relevant in cross-examination, because it is in cross-examination, it canât come in (as evidence)?
Counsel: No my lords, I didnât say it canât come in; I said I am not tendering itâŚ (Justice Atuguba cuts in again)
Justice Atuguba: Thatâs why I told you that if it goes in, itâs standing to their name, not yours.
Counsel: My lords, at this point, Iâm in the process of cross-examination, thatâs why I say I am not familiar with the process that you appear to be describing. The process that you appear to be describing is of petitioners tendering an exhibit in the middle of my cross-examination. Iâm not familiar with that, thatâs the honest truth; Iâm not familiar with it.
Justice Atuguba: You are saying he can use it to refresh his memory, isnât it?
Counsel: I donât have a problem with that.
Justice Atuguba: The question you have posed is puzzling because this one, he is not tendering any real document, he is only using as a cross-reference to your list. It is a cross-reference facilitating the reference to the references you are making in cross-examining him and to facilitate the tracking of this and you say this cannot go in?
Counsel: My lords, I say I am not seeking to tender itâŚ
Justice Atuguba: Thatâs why Iâm saying if it goes in, it goes in his name, and you still seem to have a problem with that?
Counsel: Yes, but if Iâm not tendering an exhibit, then in what sense is it going in? I am cross-examining him at the moment.
Justice Atuguba: It is part of his answers to your cross-examinationâŚ
Counsel: My lords, respectfully, the part of the answers that I needed for the sake of my cross-examination I reproduced in the list that I am tendering and he is confirming the information on the list by reference to his own information.
The judges then went into a snap conference in the presence of the audience and delivered a ruling to the effect that the tendering was differed till re-examination stage.
Justice Atuguba said âthe witness, it is said by Ansah, Rose Owusu, Annin-Yeboah and Gbadegbe JSC, can identify the document and tender it later. Adinyira, Dotse, Baffoe-Bonnie and Akoto-Bamfo, the witness can tender it during re-examination.â
âAtuguba JSC, the court has power under section 69 of the Evidence Decree to allow the tendering of the document at this stage. Section 69 (a) of the Evidence Decree provides as follows: (He quotes the relevant section)âŚ.Per Annin-Yeboah JSC, âthe court must have the document or else the cross-examiner cannot proceed any further.â
It was after the ruling that Mr. Tsikata made those statements, receiving a reprimand from the court.
Sitting continues on Monday May 20, 2013 for Mr. Tsikata to continue his eleventh day of cross-examination.
By William Yaw Owusu & Raphael Ofori-Adeniran
The Supreme Court yesterday declined a request by National Democratic Congress (NDC) lead counsel in the ongoing Presidential Election Petition Tsatsu Tsikata, and others, who sought to cross-examine some witnesses of the petitioners, including two New Patriotic Party (NPP) Members of Parliament (MPs).
The nine-member panel threw out the motion asking the court to enable the respondents, including President Mahama and the Electoral Commission (EC), to cross-examine Freda Prempeh, MP for Tano North, Dr Kwabena Twum Nuamah, MP for Berekum East and four other witnesses of the petitioners, saying that they had enough information.
The motion on notice, seeking leave of the court to cross-examine the witnesses, was first filed by the ruling NDC (3rd respondent) and followed by President John Dramani Mahama, and the Electoral Commission who are 1st and 2nd respondents respectively.
The nine-member panel, chaired by Justice William Atuguba, held that with all the evidence available in the petition, the court did not need any further evidence.
He explained that the cross-examination had already covered every ground, saying, âThey are all covered; we are saying that we have enough materials to cover. The evidence is flowing and itâs enoughâŚ.thatâs what we are saying. We donât need all those things.
âWe have considered the three applications for leave to cross-examine the various witnesses and have come to the conclusion that various types of evidence have been supplied on these matters, both by the evidence of the second petitioner in the ensuing cross-examination and the pink sheets and affidavits filed by the parties.
âWe think that these and any further evidence would suffice to enable us assess the various factual matters involved without the protraction in the cross-examination of the witness covered in these applications. In the circumstances, the applications are refused,â the court held.
The respondents were seeking to cross-examine Kwabena Twum Nuamah, NPP MP for Berekum East, Eugene Sackey, Freda Prempeh, NPP MP for Tano North in the Brong Ahafo Region and Abdulai Abdul Hamid who all swore affidavits as witnesses for the petitioners.
The witnesses had alleged in their affidavits in support of the petition that the Electoral Commission (EC) annulled some of the polling stationsâ results in their constituencies where there were over-voting and other alleged irregularities.
The NDC motion filed by its lead counsel Tsatsu Tsikata could not be moved on May 14 because President Mahama and the EC had just filed similar applications and the courtâs registry had given President Mahama and the EC returning dates of May 16 for their motions to be moved.
As a result, the court pushed the NDC motion to same day so that all the three motions could be moved at the same time.
Before the applications were moved, the court directed that once they were on the same subject-matter, the respondents should consolidate the motion before moving, after which other counsels could make addresses.
Tony Lithur, lead counsel for President Mahama then told the court that he would prefer Mr. Tsikata to move the motion.
Mr. Tsikata then took the floor advancing his argument to the effect that inviting the witnesses to be cross-examined would serve the interest of justice since they would help the court to ascertain the truth.
âThe truth of the matters that each of those witnesses has testified to before this court is a very important basis. There is no allegation before you that any of those witnesses is not available for cross-examinationâŚand we may well wonder why a party which has proffered the testimony of certain witnesses be so eager to protect them from cross-examination.
âIt is also clear that in the testimony of the main witness of the petitioners, they have also sought to rely on the allegations in those affidavits, so the testimony of the main witness which has been challenged is very much the subject matter of, not only the continued cross-examination of that witness, but would clearly be the subject matter of the cross-examination of these witnesses,â he added, in reference to Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, a principal witness in the case.
Mr. Tsikata noted that âit is also clearly the case as we take each of those individuals that they claim to have personal knowledge of the matters in respect of which they have deposed to their affidavits.
âIn the case of Abdulai Abdul Hamid, he was actually a presiding officer at a polling station in respect of which there has been testimony before this court. There is no better person than Mr. Abdulai Hamid-the presiding officer at that polling station-to provide evidence, and the petitioners did provide his evidence and they should not run away from the cross-examination of their own witnessâŚâ
He also said that the evidence of Kwabena Twum Nuamah, Eugene Sackey and Freda Prempeh were important, adding, âIf indeed, these are people who have personal knowledge of the matters, then under cross-examination, we would be able to establish whether they are telling the truth in their affidavits or they are not telling the truth.
âIt is our submission that this court and the process before this court would be well served by obtaining testimony from people who claim to have personal knowledge of the fact to which they depose.â
He described the petitionersâ opposition to the application as âsomewhat strange, because these are their witnesses and they have deposed to affidavit filed on the 13th of May and deposed to by Dr. Bawumia.
âEssentially, their claim in opposing the application is that there is some other testimony before this court from the second respondent. We ought to be allowed to cross-examine them, and itâs clearly in the interest of fairness and of justice in this proceeding that they be cross-examined to test the veracity of the allegations that they have (made).
âThere is no basis in the affidavit in opposition for denying us our entitlement to cross-examine witnesses on evidence that is being put before you,â he held.
EC Supports Tsikata
James Quarshie-Idun, representing the EC, said the subject matter of the evidence of the affidavit that they were seeking to cross-examine the deponents on, was not pleaded either in the original petition, the first amended petition or the second amended petition.
âWe stated this in paragraph 12 of the affidavit sworn to by Amadu Sulley, Deputy Chairman of the second respondent on 16 April, 2013. If these material facts had been pleaded, we would have had the opportunity of responding to them in our answer or amended answer.â
In his response, Phillip Addison, lead counsel for the petitioners, vehemently opposed the respondentsâ attempt to cross-examine the witnesses.
He said matters under discussion were no longer in controversy since the EC, in its own affidavit, had confirmed the cancellation.
He told the court that the petitioners were not opposed to the request to cross-examine Abdulai Abdul Hamid and one Fuseini Safianu who were said to be Returning Officers during the election.
Mr. Addison told the court that the EC at some stage in the trial tried to have the petitionersâ pleadings in respect of the subject-matter struck out but the court refused and since that move failed, the commission never gave any indication they were contesting the issue.
He said the matters that the EC is seeking to cross-examine the witnesses on were not in dispute, asking, âWhat purpose does cross-examining the witness serve when the EC in its own affidavits show that some polling station results were annulled?â
He also held that both President Mahama and the NDC did not challenge the piece of evidence on the annulments and that no supplementary affidavit was filed by the 1st and 3rd respondents after the EC had filed their response and therefore the court should dismiss the application.
By William Yaw Owusu & Raphael Ofori-Adeniran