Private Legal Practitioner, Lawyer Gary Nimako Marfo has taken a swipe at former President John Dramani Mahama and his legal team over their Presidential election petition before the Supreme Court.
Lawyer Gary Nimako, speaking on Peace FM’s “Kokrokoo” programme, wondered why the petitioner’s lawyers are bent on cross-examining the Electoral Commission Chairperson, Jean Mensa.
Counsel for the First Respondent, Electoral Commission, Justin Amenuvor on Monday argued before the Supreme Court that his client should not be made to mount the witness box because he believes the statements of the petitioner’s witnesses and their cross-examinations are enough for the Justices of the court to make a ruling on the petition.
Lawyer Justine Amenuvor told the court that, “given the evidence of the petitioner’s witnesses under cross-examination so far, of those witnesses, speaking for the 1st respondent, it is the 1st respondent’s case that we do not wish to lead any further evidence and therefore we are praying that this matter proceeds under Order 36 Rule 43 and CI 87 rule 3 (e) 5, we hereby and on that basis close our case.”
Lead Counsel for the Second Respondent, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Lawyer Akoto Ampaw also said he will not present any witness because the petitioner had not satisfied the burden of proof.
But Lead Counsel for the petitioner, Tsatsu Tsikata shared contrary view and insisted that Mrs. Jean Mensa must be in the witness box because she has a constitutional duty to give accounts of her conduct.
Burden of Proof
According to Lawyer Nimako, it does not lie on the EC Chair to aid the petitioner’s case but rather ”in civil litigation, the plaintiff or the petitioner bears the burden of proof”.
He explained that the petitioner has to provide substantial evidence to back his petition or claims of election fraud.
But, to him, the petitioner has so far provided weak evidence in the court.
He cited Mr. Mahama’s witness Johnson Asiedu Nketia’s statements that he couldn’t provide the election figures that the petitioner had gathered to support his petition in the court, when a Judge asked him to tell the court their figures.
Lawyer Nimako wondered how the petitioner could file a case for second election but cannot provide contrary figures before the court.
He questioned why Mr. Mahama would like to depend on the EC figures when they are the same figures he is contesting in court.
He also found issues with the petitioner’s case to put the EC Chair in the witness stand and audit or assess her constitutional mandate stressing if it’s about auditing Mrs. Jean Mensa’s performance, then the petitioner is not using the appropriate forum.
He stressed the EC Chair can give account publicly, at IPAC meeting or in Parliament but the court of law is a ”serious business”.
He, therefore, asked the petitioner to prove his case beyond doubts saying, “you must go to court, win your case on the strength of your own evidence”.
Providing some legal lessons for Mr. Mahama, lawyer Nimako said; ”The court will determine the petition based on the issues before the court. The court will not look outside the issues and determine any matter.”
He added; ” . . the court will aid you . . . when your facts are right, when you get your evidence right and you get the law right and the court will aid you. The court cannot aid you if [your facts] you go to court, you don’t have evidence to support your case because you cannot shift the burden on the other side until you have made a case against the other side; then the burden will shift. The judicial burden can shift only when you have made a case against the other side.”
Will Jean Mensa Testify?
The Supreme Court will on Thursday, February 11 give a ruling on whether or not Mrs. Jean Mensa and witness for the 2nd Respondent, Peter Mac Manu will mount the witness box.
Source: Peace FM