File your witness statements or have your case thrown out – Supreme Court to JM

The Supreme Court has ordered the petitioner in the ongoing Election Petition hearing, John Dramani Mahama, to file his five witness statements by Wednesday, January 27, 2021, or have his case dismissed.

Mr. Mahama failed to comply with an earlier order issued last Wednesdays to file the processes by January 21, 2021, to enable hearing of the substantive matter commenced today, January 26, 2021.

A lawyer for Mr. Mahama, Tony Lithur explained to the Supreme Court that it was their understanding that per their application for stay of proceedings, they were not to file the processes expected.

The Court however took serious exception to the position.

Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yebaoh in reading the decision of the Court said Mr. Mahama must comply with the orders of the Court or risk having his case dismissed.

Mr. Mahama’s legal team was thus directed to file the witness statements by close of day Wednesday, January 27, 2021.

“The petitioner is referred to the following rules of court. Rule 69 (C4B) of the Supreme Court of rule C.I.16 as amended by C.I. 99 which reads the court may dismiss the petition where the petitioner fails to file the processes regarding the petition within the specified time or hear and determine the petition when the respondents fail to file their answers or the processes regarding their answer within the specified time. Indeed this position in the procedural rules of the Supreme Court relating to presidential election petition is echoed through the different hierarchy of court in current case management structure and will not be compromised.”

“Order 32 rule 7 of A sub-rule 3 of the High Court civil procedure amendment rule 2004 C.I. 87 which governs trials in the High Court has a similar provision which states where a party has failed to comply with any of the directions given at a case management conference or pre-trial review or both, the judge may make the following by striking out the action, if the non-complying party is a plaintiff or strike out the defense and counter if the non-complying party is a defendant or order any party to pay a cost or make any appropriate order. The petitioner is again directed to file his witness statements on the matters raised in his petition and other pleadings and his response to the preliminary objection by close of the day, Wednesday, January 27, 2021, failing which this court will proceed to invoke the sanctions imposed on this court by the rules of court.”

About the petition

Mahama is in court after he and his party –the National Democratic Congress– rejected the results of the 2020 presidential polls.

Mr. Mahama, the NDC’s presidential candidate in the 2020 polls, is of the view that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo failed to obtain the requisite number of votes to be declared the winner.

He is thus asking the Supreme Court to among other things declare the 2020 presidential polls nul and void and further order the Electoral Commission to conduct a re-run of the election between himself and President Akufo-Addo.

Citinewsroom