The Supreme Court of Ghana, in dismissing an application filed by lawyers for the petitioner in the election petition hearing which was seeking to inspect the documents of the 1st Respondent, the Electoral Commission (EC), said Mr John Dramani Mahama has access to all the documents of the EC in respect of the petition.
The justices said on Wednesday, February 3 that proceedings in court so far, show that the petitioner has copies of the documents which form the basis of the case before them.
According to the apex court, the duplicates of the documents which are in possession of the petitioner, are as good as the originals.
In dismissing the application, the Chief Justice Anin Yeboah who read the ruling on behalf of the justices said “the proceedings so far show that the petitioner has copies of the documents which are the subject of this application. We are of the view that no proper case has been before us to warrant the exercise of our discretion in favour of the applicant.
“Order 29 of CI 47 which is the basis of this application should not be read in isolation, It should be read in conjunction with Rule 11 of the said Order.”
He added that Section 166 of the Evidence Act 323 of 1975 “makes it clear that a duplicate of a document is admissible to the same extent as the original unless a genuine question is raised as to the authenticity of the duplicate. No issue has been raised against the authenticity of the document in possession of the applicant.”
Lead Counsel for the petitioner, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata on Tuesday filed an application in court to inspect the EC’s documents.
The documents they were seeking to inspect include the original constituency presidential election result collation forms for all constituencies, constituency presidential election results summary sheet, regional presidential election summary sheets for all regions, and the declaration of the presidential results form.
Counsel for the 1st Respondent Electoral Commission, Justin Amenuvor, averred that the petitioner’s application is dismissed because the time allowed for such an action was not right.
He based his argument on Article 64 (1) of the Constitution of Ghana, 1992, stating the petitioner had had 21 days from the day the presidential election results were declared but failed to request for the information in question.
According to him, the petitioner had not brought it to the attention of the court that he requested to inspect such documents within the 21 days before the petition was filed.
Mr Justin Amenuvor raised questions as to why the application to inspect documents only came on “the 34th day after the petition has been filed when hearing is underway.”
Mr Akoto Ampaw, Lawyer for the 2nd Respondent Akufo-Addo prayed the Supreme Court to dismiss the application because it was misconceived.
He contended Tsatsu Tsikata’s argument about the right to a fair hearing is “misconceived”.