In a rather bizarre turn of events at the Supreme Court today, lawyers for Electoral Commissioner (EC) and President Akufo Addo have aggressively pushed against Jean Adukwei Mensa testifying in the ongoing presidential elections which arose out of her scandalous series of declaration.
Much to the shock of the general public, lawyers for the Respondents in the petition filed by former President John Mahama informed the court that Jean Mensa is not going to mount the witness box.
Justin Amenuvor, lead Counsel for the EC gave the announcement after the petitioner’s lawyers closed their case today following completion of the cross-examination of the third witness for Mr. Mahama, Robert Joseph Mettle-Nunoo.
The decision not to allow Jean Mensa to mount the witness box is contrary to the earlier promise that the EC would call one witness, Jean Mensa. According to Lawyer Amenuvor and the EC’s legal team, the decision to spare Jean Mensa is due to the fact that they believe the petitioner has not been able to prove a prima facie case.
However, experts have said that the decision is a bold gamble by the EC legal team as it means that the Commission, which conducted the election, will not avail itself of the opportunity to explain its side of things, particularly after making over seven different declarations for a single presidential election.
The gamble is also seen as a very desperate one informed by attempts to ensure that Jean Mensa is spared a peppering she would have received at the hands of the legal team of Mr. Mahama.
The petitioner is relishing the opportunity to grill the embattled EC boss on the “Voodoo Mathematics” that informed her declaration as the sole Returning Officer for the Presidential Election.
Lead Counsel for Mr. Mahama, Tsatsu Tsikata, reacted to the decision to shield Jean Mensa from cross-examination unhappily saying it is a calculated move by the EC boss herself and her team to evade cross-examination which would have exposed the illegalities that went into the controversial declaration of Akufo-Addo as President-elect.
Explaining further, Lawyer Tsikata also said the request by the counsel for the Respondent was not in line with Order 36 Rule 43 and CI 87 rule 3 (e) 5 as stated.
The Supreme Court panel hearing the case however sided with the EC saying that if the woman is not willing to mount the witness box, she cannot be forced to do so.
This is not the first time the panel has ruled in favor of Jean Mensa walking away from the spotlight. At the beginning of the trial, an attempt by the petitioner to serve her some twelve interrogatories was dismissed by the court with a subsequent review appeal also dismissed.
The panel also dismissed an application to have the EC’s documents inspected and demanded that lead Counsel for Mr. Mahama should stop referring to her name, and rather do so by the office she occupied, a directive that was fiercely challenged by Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata.
Meanwhile, the EC’s decision to rescind its earlier decision to call Jean Mensa as a witness followed in the fashion of a similar decision by the Lawyers of President Akufo-Addo, who also abandoned an earlier decision to call one witness – Peter Mac Manu.
Mac Manu was the Campaign Manager for Mr. Akufo-Addo who had been referenced by Rojo Mettle Nunoo in his witness statement as a person who can confirm some things that happened in the EC’s national collation center. However, the President’s lawyers decided they are not letting him mount the witness box.
The seeming symbiosis between the decisions and actions of the EC’s lawyers and that of President Akufo-Addo’s lawyers has played throughout the trial. Anytime the President’s lawyers make a move, the EC’s lawyers make a similar move.
The next adjourned date is tomorrow, the 9th of February.