Monday, January 28, 2013
Parties to election petition appear in court tomorrow
January 28, 2013 (Front page) THE battle for legal supremacy continues at the Supreme Court tomorrow as parties in the petition challenging the results of the 2012 presidential polls, move their motions for and against the demand for additional particulars. Lawyers for President John Dramani Mahama and the Electoral Commission (EC), who are the first and second respondents in the petition, are expected to move the motions for “further and better particulars” at the court’s sitting on Tuesday, January 29, 2013. The legal representatives of the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the December 7, 2012 polls, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; his running mate, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, and the Chairman ofthe NPP, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, are expected to oppose the motion for further and better particulars. A petition to the Supreme Court, dated December 28, 2012, had noted, among other things, that irregularities recorded at 4,709 polling stations, favoured President Mahama. According to the petitioners, 24,000 of the pink results sheets from some polling stations indicated that those irregularities were enough to affect the outcome of the presidential election. They are accordingly requesting the court to annul results declared in the polling stations where the alleged irregularities were recorded. But President Mahama and EC responded to the petition, denied the claims and filed a motion under Rule 69 A (4) of the Supreme Court (Amendment) Rules, 2012 (C.I. 74), which says a respondent may apply for further and better particulars in order to prepare adequately for a case. In the motion for “further and better particulars,” the EC and President Mahama, are praying the court to order the petitioners to provide them with the names and codes of the 4,709 polling stations, constituencies and regions where alleged electoral irregularities took place. However, an affidavit in opposition to the EC’s motion for further and particulars, deposed to by Nana Akufo-Addo stated that the EC “ought not to be permitted to employ an application for further and better particulars to compel the petitioners to disclose the nature of evidence petitioners intend to lead during the trial.” According to Akufo-Addo, the EC already had in its possession originals of the declaration forms, and for that reason, it was needless for the EC to request for further particulars from the petitioners. The petitioners, on the other hand, are requesting the EC to provide them with details of the names and addresses of persons who were registered overseas and the mode and manner those persons were registered. The petitioners are also asking for declaration forms for all polling stations in the 2012 presidential election, minutes of all meetings held between the EC and political parties between 2010 and 2012 as well as special voters list used in the 2012 presidential election. The tone of correspondence between lawyers for the petitioners and the EC, clearly indicates that, it is only the Supreme Court that can resolve the matter. Copied in the correspondence between the EC and the petitioners, is the Registrar of the Supreme Court. The court, on January 22, 2013, allowed the National Democratic Congress (NDC), on whose ticket, President Mahama stood for the elections, to join as the third respondent. It is expected to file its response to the petition on or before the close of work on January 29, 3013. As per the rules, the Supreme Court is expected to fix a date for hearing of the substantive matter after all preliminary legal issues are resolved.