The seven-member Supreme Court panel led by the Chief Justice (CJ) Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, that heard the 2020 presidential election petition, has unanimously dismissed the suit as having no merit.
According to the judgement, though the petition disclosed cause of action, the petitioner, John Dramani Mahama, failed to meet the burden of proof and persuasion to merit a judgement in his favour.
The Supreme Court verdict was entirely read out by the President of the panel, the CJ, that has been sitting on the 2020 Election Petition since the hearing began on January 14, 2021.
“The petitioner has not provided any evidence to rebut the evidence created by the presumption CI135, for which his action must fail.
“We, therefore, have no reason to order a re-run as pleaded by the petitioner. We accordingly dismiss the petition as having no merit,” the CJ said in conclusion to the two-hour judgement.
The court at the case management process set out five issues for determination, following which the parties had the duty to hold the court to arrive at a determination.
The issues included; whether or not the petition discloses any reasonable cause of action, whether or not based on the data contained in the declaration of the 1st Respondent (EC) no candidate obtained more than 50% of the valid votes cast as required by Article 63 (3) of the 1992 constitution.
Others are; whether or not the 2nd Respondent still met article 63 (3) of the 1992 constitution threshold by the exclusion or inclusion of the Techiman South constituency Presidential Election Results of 2020; whether or not the declaration by the 1st Respondent dated the 9th of December was in violation of Article 63 (3) of the 1992 constitution; whether or not the alleged vote padding and other errors complained of by the petitioner affected the outcome of the Presidential Election results of 2020.
The Court in its verdict said that the first witness, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, was the star testifier for the petitioner, as his account related to the issues the court set out.
It continued: “As for the other two witnesses, that is Petitioner’s Witness PW2 and 3; Dr Kpessa-Whyte and Robert Joseph Mettle-Nunoo, the little said about their testimonies relative to the issues at stake, the better. They recounted the fanciful tale of how the chairperson refused to heed their complaints on some irregularities they noticed on some of the collation forms which came from the regions,” Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah said.
He explained that: “We describe this evidence as fanciful because, despite this alleged protest, they went ahead to verify and certify 13 of 16 regional collation sheets.”
The court said Dr Michael Kpessa Whyte and Mr Mettle-Nunoo should blame themselves for leaving the National Collation Centre (Strong room).
“In fact, regarding the testimonies of PW2 and PW3, if their evidence is to be believed, then they have to blame themselves for abandoning their post at the National Collation Centre at a time the verification and certification of the result were ongoing.”
According to the panel, they were stationed at the strong room to observe the collation process on behalf of the 2020 NDC presidential candidate, Mr Mahama, but they did not do their job.
Thus, they must accept the consequences if they left their post for reasons other than strictly observing the collation process.
“Out of the three witnesses [the petitioner called], the one whose testimony appeared to have relevance to the issue at stake was Johnson Asiedu Nketia (PW1). He was in fact the star witness of the petitioner. His testimony vividly explained the reason the petitioner is in court.
“While the testimony of PW1 [Johnson Asiedu Nketia] was emphatic, the testimonies of PW2 [Dr Kpessa Whyte] and 3 [RojoNunoo] were in respect of alleged irregularities in the figures or data on some of the collation forms that they sighted in the strong room but after which they ultimately signed or certified.
“Notwithstanding all these allegations of misunderstandings with the staff of the 1st Respondent in the strong room and the fact that they were absent during the declaration they did not give any indication as to how these happenings affected the final results announced by the 1st Respondent,” Chief Justice Anin-Yeboah said when reading the final judgement on Mr Mahama’s petition on Thursday.
He continued: “Having signed or certified these forms, the witnesses, particularly, PW3, cannot turn round to talk of irregularities in the said forms. Their testimonies were, therefore, of no relevance to the issues set down for determination and we find them unworthy whatsoever in the settlement of the issues.”
Like in 2013, when then president Mahama and his vice, the late Amissah Arthur watched the final verdict from the Jubilee House, whilst Akufo-Addo and Bawumia sat in the court room, the table turned in 2021.