The Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin Yeboah, has described as “uncomfortable” claims by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) General Secretary that the Electoral Commission (EC) Chairperson, was biased in the execution of her role relating to the December 2020, Presidential elections election due to the certain family connection she has with President Akufo-Addo, the man who appointed her.
Johnson Asiedu Nketia, had in his witness statement alleged that Jean Mensa’s bias stemmed from her “close familial relationship” with the wife of the President, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, but at last Friday’s hearing of the election petition, the Chief Justice was overheard in open court loudly saying “we are not comfortable with it”.
This was after the President’s lead lawyer, Akoto-Ampaw, had cited the claim among other statements in Mr Asiedu Nketia’s witness statements to the Supreme Court in support of ex-President John Dramani Mahama’s petition that the EC wrongfully declared Akufo-Addo the winner of the election because her numbers don’t add up.
President Akufo-Addo, is the second respondent in the election petition filed by the 2020 NDC presidential candidate, Mr Mahama.
Point 26 of the witness statement stated that “the Chairperson of the 1st Respondent and 1st Respondent are also not required under Article 296 of the Constitution to be “biased either by resentment, prejudice or personal dislike” in exercising any discretionary power, but they are required to exercise such powers in “in accordance with due process of law”. The Chairperson of 1st Respondent e, Mrs. Jean Mensa, allowed herself to be biased by her prejudice in favour of 2nd Respondent, who appointed her in August 2018 and with whose wife Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa has a close familial relationship. Mrs. Mensa was thus, at all material times in the conduct of her relationship, biased by prejudice in favour of the 2nd Respondent and against the Petitioner”.
These allegations by Mr Nketiah are contained in his witness statement filed in support of Mr Mahama’s petition. He explained that when the EC Chairperson discovered that her December 9 declaration was in error, she should have been fair and set aside the entire declaration and involved political parties in making the corrections, instead of issuing statements.
The lack of involvement of the political parties he states, showed a clear lack of transparency and a quest to cook up figures to achieve a predetermined outcome that had nothing to do with the actual votes cast in the presidential election.
On Friday, barely had Asiedu Nketiah taken his seat in the dock, then Lawyer Akoto Ampaw, counsel for President Akufo-Addo, got up to raise objections, asking the apex court to strike out ten paragraphs in the witness statement, including Mrs. Mensa’s family ties to the First Lady, Rebecca, saying they were “not based on the pleadings of the petitioner, unduly prejudicial and scandalous”.
But President Mahama’s leader counsel, Tsatsu Tsikata, told the court the paragraphs are at the heart of the matter to confirm that EC cooked up figures for Akufo-Addo, based on the chairperson’s biased and prejudice against the NDC Presidential Candidate.
Tsatsu Tsikata, told the Supreme Court that figures had been cooked up by the EC to make Akufo-Addo the winner of the polls, insisting that the statement submitted by the NDC General Secretary, provides conviction that the entire election process was meant to rig the polls in favour of Mr Akufo-Addo.
“The figures were simply being cooked to obtain its already predetermined outcome. The point we are making is that there has been sufficient basis made in the pleadings for there to be evidence that figures were just being cooked.
“The figures were coming from nowhere and without reference to anybody. They did not also follow due process of allowing each candidate’s party agent to be in the know of the figures put out there.
“My Lord, with the greatest respect, I find it very difficult to see how any objective observer of the ever-changing figures that have been put forward fail to see that we are not justified that the figures were indeed being cooked,” Tsatsu said.
Tsatsu was seeking to convince the seven-member panel to accept in totality the witness statement by Asiedu Nketia, however, the court, struck out seven paragraphs of the statement with the reasoning that Asiedu Nketia, could not validate the allegations, but maintain three.
The paragraphs maintained were paragraphs 21, 32 and 33. The expunged ones are paragraphs 6, 7, 25, 26, 28, 30 and 3.
“We find paragraph 21 as a matter which has its foundation in the pleadings and same is accordingly maintained.
As regards paragraph 25, we find out that part and that paragraph is hereby struck out as not based on the pleadings.
In respect to paragraph 26, the court is of the opinion that the statement is also struck out on the basis that it has no foundation in the pleadings.
As regards paragraph 28, it is not borne out of the pleadings and same is accordingly struck out.
In respect to paragraph 30, the court is of the view that it has no foundation in the pleadings, as it just refers to C.I. 127, which the witness cannot testify on the statutes.
As regards paragraphs 32 and 33, we find that they are based on the pleadings and therefore maintained to be part of the witness statements.
In respect to paragraph 37, we find that it is just an inference to be drawn and not evidence and therefore proceed to strike it out.
The court, therefore, orders that the paragraphs referred to offends the law and are hereby expunged from the witness statement of PW1.
The election petition hearing continues today, February 1, 2021.
When Mr Asiedu Nketia is done, Dr Michael Kpessa Whyte, who was one of Mr Mahama’s representatives in the EC’s national collation centre (strong room), will take over the dock.
His witness statement, will reveal how he detected errors during computation of the incoming results.
He claims this was brought to the attention of the EC Chairperson, who asked that he together with Rojo Mettle Nunoo confer with Mr Mahama on the issue and report back to the Commission.
He said on arrival at Mr Mahama’s residence, he realised that the EC Chairperson was declaring the results on national television contrary to the earlier agreement.
He insists the results as declared, does not reflect the results as voted by Ghanaians across the country and that no candidate obtained more than 50percent of the votes cast.