A member of the NDC legal team, Abraham Amaliba has spiked a Supreme Court directive on new modalities for cross-examination in the hearing of the election petition, suggesting that it was calculated to disarm the respondents.
On Thursday counsel for the first respondent spent about five hours cross-examining a principal witness in the case, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, on duplication of Pink Sheets filed by the petitioners. After going through over 35 Pink Sheets, the court adjourned sitting to Monday, but the counsel indicated that there were more duplication he wanted to bring to the attention of the court.
However, a statement issued on Friday by Justice William Atuguba, the chairman of the panel of judges hearing the case, directed the counsel for the first respondent, Tony Lithur to list all duplicated Pink Sheets and send an electronic version of the list to the court and to the 2nd petitioner, which it said could be tended in evidence.
But Mr Abraham Amaliba said the directive would affect the respondents as it will take away the element of “surprise” in cross-examination. He was speaking on Joy FM’s news analysis programme Newsfile on Saturday.
He described the Supreme Court’s decision as an “administrative fiat” and disagreed that the method chosen by the counsel in his cross-examination would delay the processes.
He wondered why the amendment of the petition, and the call for adjournment of the case by the petitioners on April 16 did not amount to a delay.
“Just five hours [of cross-examination] and the Supreme Court is shivering that there is a delay,” he remarked.
Mr Amaliba also questioned why the eminent judges did not ask the counsel for the petitioners to submit to the court and to the respondents, the questions he asked his client.
“Did they say Addison’s questions to Dr Bawumia should be put in an envelope and given to us, so that we also have knowledge of the questions?…what is good for the goose is equally good for the gander.
“Why? What is the purpose of cross-examination? It’s to expose the inconsistency in the witness’ testimony; …it is also to the test the veracity of what the witness has said; …it is to spring surprise.”
If the directive is complied with, he said, “that is entirely saying that they are disarming us and saying that we should give our pink sheets that we are going to cross-examine to Bawumia to study”.
Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini concurred with Mr Amaliba on the administrative fiat, adding that this should have been agreed with the parties involved in court.
“This is an administrative fiat intended to impose the modalities on the parties; that is where I have my difficulties.”
“In cross-examination many things happen, the credibility of the witness is an issue,” he stated
Alhaji Fuseini further maintained that instead of one holding to his chest, the inconsistency established in the petition, the directive is saying “I should give my arsenals to Dr Bawumia so that he can come and explain away”.
He noted that it was the first time he was hearing such a directive in the annals of Ghana’s jurisprudence.
But the Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Malik Kweku Baako totally disagreed with the two.
“This indeed is even in the interest of the respondents if it is serious business they intend undertaking in the Supreme Court,” he asserted.
“I am in love with it”, he said, adding that the style of cross-examination adopted by the counsel of the first respondent “was primitive…[and was playing to the public gallery, and it had an effect”.
He also described the style as “boring, protracted monotony,” which also sought to portray that the case was a “bad one”.
Executive Director of Danquah Institute, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko was in complete agreement with Mr Baako’s position.