The Supreme Court of Ghana has struck out five paragraphs from the 32-paragraph statement of Mr Robert Joseph Mettle-Nunoo, the third witness for former President John Mahama, the petitioner in the ongoing election case in which the presidential candidate of the main opposition National Democratic Congress in the 7 December 2020 polls, is challenging the results as declared by Electoral Commission Chair Jean Mensa on 9 December 2020.
“So, in effect, apart from paragraphs 4, 5, 6, 7 and 18, the rest of the paragraphs remain”, Chief Justice Anin Yeboah read out in court on Friday, 5 February 2020.
“…The remaining paragraphs in the witness statement are maintained”, he said, adding: “The petition is hereby adjourned to Monday, 8 February 2021 for cross-examination of PW3”.
The ruling followed an objection to 22 of the paragraphs by the legal team of President Nana Akufo-Addo.
Mr Mettle-Nunoo’s is testifying remotely via Zoom.
According to Mr Akoto Ampaw, lead counsel for President Nana Akufo-Addo, the first respondent, paragraphs 4 (part), 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15 (part), 16, 17 (part), 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, 31, 25, and 26 are either not based on the pleadings of the petitioner, border on issues of authenticity, which have already been ruled on by the court, or seeking to “introduce new evidence through the backdoor”.
Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, lead counsel for former President Mahama, however, argued that all the paragraphs were relevant to getting to the truth.
Rojo, as Mr Mahama’s third witness is popularly known, together with Dr Michael Kpessa-Whyte, monitored the results collation exercise at the EC’s Strong Room during the elections.
Already, the General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia; and Dr Kpessa-Whyte, have testified and been cross-examined by counsel for the first and second respondents.
At the resumption of the hearing today, Friday, 5 February 2020, Mr Akoto Ampaw insisted that a court official be present at Mr Mettle-Nunoo’s location so as to prevent him from being assisted.
Mr Tsatsu Tsikata did not object to that request.
The court adjourned for 30 minutes and sent a court official with a dispatch rider to Mr Mettle-Nunoo’s location.
In his witness statement, Mr Mettle-Nunoo, accused the Chairperson of the election management body of acting in bad faith when she announced the presidential results, after having asked him and Dr Kpessa-Whyte to go and conference with their presidential candidate, Mr Mahama, on their qualms with the electoral process.
Mr Mettle-Nunoo corroborated Dr Kpessa-Whyte’s testimony to the court.
“Mrs Jean Mensa informed me that there had been a meeting held earlier in the day between the petitioner and the peace council, something I was unaware of at the time”.
“After I further drew her attention to some of the issues that were coming up in the interactions in the strong room, she said very directly that we should go and speak to the petitioner”.
“Having regard to her earlier reference to the meeting between the peace council and the petitioner, which she had obviously been briefed about, I took seriously, what she said”.
“I did not think that we, who were acting as agents of the petitioner, should be seen as taking positions which may be contrary to what the petitioner himself had conveyed in a meeting that I was unaware of with a body such as the peace council, which, I know has an important role in resolving disputes in connection with elections and calming tensions in the country. She indicated her own willingness to meet with the petitioner”, he wrote in the 32-point statement.
He continued: “I was also struck by the fact that she proposed that she would send a dispatch rider to help us get back to the headquarters of the EC ahead on time for her own exercise of her responsibilities. There was nothing in the discussion which could have given me any reason for doubting the word of the Chairperson of the EC. Indeed, having worked with her previously when I was a consultant to the IEA, I had no reason not to trust her. I took her at her word and I must say I was really shocked to realise how she had proceeded to make a declaration of results at a time when she knew that my colleague and I have left the premises at her instance. I can still remember her saying that she would even send a dispatch rider to hasten our return to the EC headquarters after our consultations with the petitioner”.
“Yet, my colleague and I realised with shock, when on our reaching the residence of the petitioner that the EC Chairperson was in the process of announcing the results. The petitioner naturally asked how this was possible when the same person had sent us with a message for him”.
“Attempts I made to reach the Chairperson of the EC by phone for clarification proved futile as she had turned off her phone. Clearly, the EC Chairperson had not been transparent and truthful and had taken advantage of the absence of the two representatives of the petitioner to make a premature and unconstitutional declaration. She acted with extreme bad faith, unfairly, unreasonably, and with no regard to due process”.
“I can still not believe she did what she did in the light of my experience over the years with elections in this country”.
“I have known that a declaration has to be transparent and the results must be justified by facts, figures and a transparent tally and collation of results. Clear errors, as have been admitted by the EC in this election, undermine the credibility of the whole and also casts grave doubts on the integrity of those assigned responsibilities for the free, fair and transparent conduct of elections. It is impossible to sweep these matters under the carpet”, he added.