Monday, January 28, 2013

NPP withdraws opposition to panel membership

January 12, 2013 (Front page) LAWYERS for petitioners challenging the results of the December 7, 2012 elections have withdrawn their objection to the composition of a Supreme Court panel billed to hear the National Democratic Congress (NDC’s) application for joinder to the petition. A letter dated January 11, 2013 and bearing the signature of a lawyer from Akufo-Addo, Prempeh and co. and addressed to the Registrar of the Supreme Court said the petitioners did not intend to pursue their motion objecting to the composition of the panel in order for the case to be expeditiously tried. The letter accordingly urged the Registrar of the Supreme Court to fix a date for the motion for joinder to be heard “at the earliest date”. The petitioners namely, Presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP’s) Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, his running mate, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia and Chairman of the NPP, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey filed a petition contesting the declaration of President John Dramani Mahama as the winner of the 2012 polls but the NDC filed a motion to join on grounds that the President stood for the elections on its ticket. However, when the matter for joinder was called on Thursday, one of the lawyers of the petitioners, Mr Philip Addison indicated that the intention of the petitioners to raise an objection in camera but the lawyers for the NDC and President Mahama, Messrs Tsatsu Tsikata and Tony Lithur objected and insisted the issue be raised in open court. The nine-member panel presided over by Mr Justice Atuguba, with Mr Justice Mr Justice Julius Ansah, Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira, Ms Justice Rose Owusu, Mr Justice Jones Dotse, Mr Justice Annin Yeboah, Mr P. Baffoe-Bonnie, Mr Justice G. S. Gbadegbe and Mrs Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo as panel members finally heard the issue in chambers in the presence of all parties in the case including the Electoral Commission (EC) which has also been sued. The court then adjourned the case indefinitely to enable the petitioners to file a formal motion. Lawyers for the NPP did not disclose the name of the panel member they objected to but a member of the NDC legal team, Nana Ato Dadzie, revealed the identity of the Supreme Court judge the petitioners were opposed to. According to Nana Dadzie, lawyers for the petitioners challenging the 2012 Presidential elections were of the view that Mr Justice Atuguba should be exempted because he was a cousin to Dr Raymond Atuguba, the newly appointed Executive Secretary to President John Dramani Mahama. In the substantive matter, the petitioners are claiming irregularities recorded during the elections, favoured the NDC, noting that 24,000 of the pink result sheets from some polling stations indicated that those irregularities were enough to affect the results. However, the EC, has denied any wrongdoing arguing that the results it declared were credible and accurate.

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