ELECTION Petition: Supreme Court Fixes April 16 For Hearing…Throws Out EC’s Request

The Supreme Court has fixed April 16, 2013 to start hearing of the substantive matter of the Election Petition filed by three leading members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), comprising the party’s presidential candidate for the 2012 elections, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, his running mate Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and the party’s chairman, Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey challenging the validity of the 2012 presidential election.

The Petitioners, who have named President Mahama, the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the political party on whose ticket President John Dramani Mahama contested the elections as respondents, are claiming the election was rigged by the EC in favor of President Mahama.

The court also decided that all witnesses would have to come by affidavit and have consequently asked the parties in the case to file affidavit of witnesses they intend to call.

The petitioners and respondents would however give their evidence orally.

This decision by the court was arrived at when sitting resumed Tuesday morning to consider, resolve and adopt issues to be raised by lawyers in the petition contesting the legitimacy of President John Dramani Mahama.

Earlier on in the day, the court set out two issues for trial in the presidential petition.

This was after the parties involved in the petition failed to determine the memoranda of issues on their own compelling the Supreme Court to narrowed the issues down to two.

The issues set by the highest court of the land include whether or not there were statutory violations, omissions, irregularities and malpractices in the conduct of the elections held on December 7 and 8, 2012.

The court is also to ascertain whether or not the said violations, omissions, irregularities and malpractices affected the outcome of the results of the elections.

The Supreme Court also threw away a request by the EC that the petitioners should provide further and better particulars on 28 locations where they alleged that voting took place without authority.

According to the EC, the petitioners have to date not complied with the court’s orders to provide further and better particulars on the said 28 locations.

The petitioners, in an amended petition, alleged that voting took place at 28 locations which were not part of the 26,002 polling stations created by the EC, which has been sued alongside President John Dramani Mahama for allegedly padding results in favour of President Mahama.

While the petitioners are praying the court to determine whether or not voting took place in the alleged 28 locations and whether or not votes cast in those areas were factored into the results declared after the polls, the EC holds the position that the petitioners have till date not provided information on the alleged 28 locations.

In a motion on notice for an order for further and better particulars filed on behalf of the EC by its solicitors, Lynes, Quarshie-Idun and Co., on March 28, 2013, the EC stated that the petitioners had failed to comply with the court’s February 5 and 7, 2013 rulings which directed the petitioners to provide further and better particulars.

According to the EC, although the court obliged and granted the EC’s request, the petitioners had to date not furnished it with further and better particulars on the said 28 locations.

To buttress its position that the petitioners had not provided further and better particulars on the said 28 locations, the EC, in a supplementary affidavit dated April 1, 2013 in response to the petitioners’ affidavit in opposition dated March 30, 2013, stated that the petitioners had provided 22 locations instead of the alleged 28 locations.

According to the EC, the said 22 locations after careful examination, “were all part of the 26,002 approved locations known to all political parties prior to the December, 2012 elections.

“That the non-inclusion of the allegation regarding the existence of polling stations in which results were recorded on pink sheets having the same serial numbers was an inadvertent omission which the second respondent is seeking leave of the Honourable Court to correct, ” a supplementary affidavit deposed to by Mr Amadu Sulley, a Deputy Chairman in-charge of Finance and Administration stated on behalf of the EC.

But the nine-member Supreme Court panel, in a 6-3 decision threw away the EC’s request.

Today’s sitting marked the last hurdle to be cleared before the hearing of the substantive petition which is calling for the annulment of 4,670,504 votes cast during the December 2012 presidential polls.

On March 4, 2013, the three petitioners filed issues to be set out for trial while the President on March 13, 2013 also filed application for directions.

They have petitioned the Supreme Court challenging the results of the December 7 presidential elections.

They are requesting the court to annul 4,670,504 of the valid votes cast during the election at 11,916 polling stations where they claim irregularities took place.

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