Mahama’s Lawyer Calls Election Petition Court Panel Unfair

Dr. Abdul Basit Bamba

A member of the legal team of former President John Mahama has said that the composition of the Supreme Court panel put together by Chief Justice Kwesi Anin Yeboah to hear the 2020 election petition is unfair and unbalanced.

In an interview with Accra based Joy FM, Dr. Abdul Basit Bamba said he is disappointed in the crop of justices that have been assembled for the case by the Chief Justice.

“I was extremely disappointed with the composition of the panel, it is not to take away anything from the integrity and competence of the judges on the panel. This is a very very important case. When you have a case like this … it’s always important, despite whatever powers the Chief Justice has in empaneling a court to make sure that you have a balance and a fair panel. I do not see that this panel is balanced and fair,” he said.

The panel comprises Seven (7) Justices, six (6) of whom are appointees of President Akufo-Addo. Only one of the judges sitting on the case, Justice Yaw Appau, was appointed to the Supreme Court by former President John Mahama.

The panel is presided over by Chief Justice Kwesi Anin Yeboah, who was first appointed to the Supreme Court by former President Kufuor in 2008 and later elevated to Chief Justice by President Akufo-Addo in January 2019. 

Justice Anin Yeboah was a member of the panel which also heard the 2012 election petition filed by then Candidate Akufo-Addo. Anin Yeboah was about the only one who had voted for the election of John Mahama to be rerun, even though a majority decision had thrown the petition out.

Justices Marful Sau, Nene Amegatcher and Prof. Kotei were all appointed to the Supreme Court by President Akufo-Addo in July 2018, while Justices Mariama Owusu and Gertrude Torkonoo were also appointed to the Supreme Court in December 2019.

Justice Yaw Appau had received his appointment to the apex court in June 2015.

Meanwhile, US-based Ghanaian Law Professor, Kwaku Asare alias Kwaku Azar has wondered why some of the Justices who sat on the 2012 election petition were not appointed to the current panel to hear the 2020 petition, given their experience and seniority at the apex court.

His observance has resonated with some members of the public who have also wondered why five out of the seven justices on the panel are new appointees to the Supreme Court.

 “Another interesting observation about the panel is that save for the CJ, the other panelists were not involved in the 2012 petition. This is expected because of retirement. However, some of the 2012 justices, including Dotse and Baffoe-Bonnie are not retired but are not on the panel,” Prof. Azar wrote.

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