Credible information available to the New Statesman indicates that lawyers for President John Dramani Mahama and the National Democratic Congress are seething with rage at the decision by the President of the Presidential election petition panel, Justice William Atuguba, to ensure an expeditious determination of the case brought by the petitioners who are challenging the outcome of the December 2012 elections.
Justice Atuguba Friday directed counsel for John Mahama, Tony Lithur, to “list out the residue of the pink sheets in the manner here to be identified by him in his cross-examination of the 2nd petitioner which he claims were duplicated, in their mode and manner of generation and extent of their use by the petitioners for the purposes of proof of their petition.”
This directive issued to Mr Lithur followed his cross examination of Dr Bawumia, during which he spent five hours pulling out just 38 pinksheets in his attempt to prove that Dr Bawumia’s evidence contained duplicate pinksheets.
The tactic employed by Mr Lithur was seen as a clear attempt to delay the case and ensure that it dragged for months and possibly years.
The anger of the NDC lawyers at Justice Atuguba’s curtailment of Mr Lithur’s delay tactic was evident in the expressions and submissions of David Amaliba, a member of the NDC’s legal team, on Joy Fm’s current affairs and news analysis programme, Newsfile, on Saturday.
Visibly disturbed by the directive of Justice Atuguba, Mr Amaliba expressed the frustration of the NDC at this latest directive, claiming that it was akin to the Supreme Court giving out Mr Lithur’s questions to Dr Bawumia to prepare ahead before the continuation of today’s cross examination.
Sources close to Mr Lithur has hinted the New Statesman that the counsel for John Mahama and the NDC are in no mood to ensure a speedy resolution of this case and will pull out of their sleeves lots of tactics in the course of the trial to ensure this case never ends
The mode of Mr Lithur’s cross examination is the latest in the series of delay tactics employed by the NDC and John Mahama. The first tactic was the joinder application filed by Tsatsu Tsikata that enabled the NDC to become a party to the election petition. The second was the 327 joinder applications of NDC supporters, who also asked the court to be joined to this case. This, was however, thrown out by the Supreme Court judges. The third was the vehement opposition to the live telecast of the case by the NDC and John Mahama.
Throughout last week, scores of Ghanaians who spoke to the New Statesman expressed worry about the case not ending anytime soon considering the delay tactics being employed by the respondents.
A visit by reporters of the paper to the Ministries revealed a massive slowdown in work output, as workers remained glued to television sets and radios to enable them follow this historic landmark case.
“This case means a lot to Ghanaians and whatever the judges will do to speed up the case, they should do. The legitimacy of the President is being questioned and the quicker this case is completed, the better for Ghana,” a director at one of the ministries told the New Statesman.
Below is a reproduction of Justice Atuguba’s letter to Mr Lithur.
1. NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO-ADDO
2. DR MAHAMUDU BAWUMIA
3. JAKE OTANKA OBETSEBI-LAMPTEY PETITIONERS
1. JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA
2. THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION
3. NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS RESPONDENTS
MODE OF CONTINUATION OF CROSS-EXAMINATION OF 2ND PETITIONER ON PINK SHEETS
In order to expedite the hearing of the petition, the panel hereby directs that the cross-examination on the pink sheets be continued as follows:
1. Counsel for the 1st Respondent do list out the residue of the pink sheets in the manner here to be identified by him in his cross-examination of the 2nd petitioner which he claims were duplicated, in their mode and manner of generation and extent of their use by the petitioners for the purposes of proof of their petition.
2. The said list should be electronically served forthwith by counsel for the 1st respondent on all other parties.
3. At the resumed sitting on Monday, 22/04/2013 counsel for the 1st respondent may put the said list by way of further cross-examination to the 2nd petitioner for his response.
4. The said list can then be tended in evidence.
5. Counsel for the 1st respondent or any other party may bring along with him his or their copies of the pink sheets.
W. A. ATUGUBA