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Opinions of Monday, 20 May 2013

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

A Supreme Court Judge is Deaf and Blind

.... to the Irrelevancy of some of Tsatsu Tsikata's Questions

Sunday, 19 May 2013

I find it amazing how a learned person in the law profession, rising through the ranks to become one of the nation's Supreme Court judges let alone, the Presiding judge sitting on a particular case, vehemently defends and classifies questions which are totally irrelevant to the case before his panel as absolutely pertinent. Oh my Gosh!

With a brief background narration of the incident culminating in this write-up, my readers and discerning Ghanaians could well appreciate my argument being put forward. Every Ghanaian may be aware that both parliamentary and presidential elections were held in Ghana on 7 & 8 December 2012. Before the declaration of the presidential results and the subsequent winner, the NPP Presidential-candidate, his Vice and the Chairman of the NPP signalled the Chairman of the Electoral Commission about suspected electoral malpractices, irregularities, omissions and commissions that have compromised the credibility of the results. Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan snubbed them. He proceeded to declare the results presumed to have been rigged in favour of then NDC Presidential-candidate John Dramani Mahama. He contemptuously advised the leadership of the NPP to go to court if they felt the election was not free and fair but rigged.

The Chairman of the NPP, Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, conveyed the grievances of the NPP pertaining to the electoral irregularities negatively impacting on the election to Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan in a letter prior to the declaration of the winner. This letter I hope, sought to stay the hand of Kwadwo Afari Gyan while he conducted preliminary investigations. He just overlooked the importance of their request and as obstinately snobbish as he was, he went ahead to declare the results.

As permitted by the 1992 Constitution of which I hold a copy, and per Dr Afari Gyan's snobbish advice of "you can go to court", Nana Akufo Addo, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey filed a writ in the Supreme Court seeking the annulment of the results of the presidential Election 2012. They submitted an initial four thousand (4,000) and over Statement of Poll and Declarations forms (pink sheets) covering the specified polling stations to the court as areas tainted with various electoral irregularities. They later swore an affidavit to amend and add to the number; bringing the final total to eleven-thousand eight hundred and forty-two (11,842).

In filing their petition, the petitioners (Nana Akufo Addo, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey) did not include or mention Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey's letter as stated in paragraph three of this publication. They filed a fresh statement with evidential documents within twenty-one days after the declaration of the results as permitted by the 1992 governing Constitution.

Now, the Lead Counsel (Tsatsu Tsikata) for the NDC, the 3rd respondent, sneaks a copy of Jake's letter into court; having likely obtained it from the Electoral Commission, and begins to question Dr. Bawumia, the Star witness who doubles as the 2nd petitioner, about it. Philip Addison, the Lead Counsel for the petitioners raises an objection saying, "The questions being asked by Lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata are irrelevant to the case and documents presented by the petitioners" to the august court.

Presiding Judge, Justice Atuguba, chipped in, chided Philip Addison and insisted all the questions were relevant to the determination of the case and so Dr Bawumia had better not be evasive with his answers but answer them credibly.

My White legal brains tell me as following:

1. The Court should interest herself in, or concentrate on the petitioners' writ filed with its supporting documentary evidences and the respondents' counter claim also supported by proofs.

2. If the said letter has just been sneaked in to cause a surprise; not initially filed with court and served on the petitioners, then it is in bad faith. To cross-examine Dr Bawumia on it whether or not he is conversant with its details is not sound legal practice, especially, in this case. Therefore, any questions asked on the contents of the letter is truly irrelevant to the determination of the outcome of the case regardless of the view of the Presiding Judge

3. The court is to establish the veracity of alleged occurrences of irregularities, malpractices, omissions and commissions based on provided hardcopy and softcopy evidences. This must be scrutinised in relation to enacted Constitutional Instruments on which the election was organised. In furtherance, the objections of there being no such irregularities as may be raised by the respondents must be studied and determined accordingly.

4. Tsatsu's questions on the letter could only be relevant in a criminal trial if the NPP supporters had been rampageous, committing violence and atrocities attributable to incitation by the contents of the letter. Even here, the court must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the contents were made available to the supporters, and that they were a potent factor.

5. In the absence of (4), the irrelevancy of the letter is too conspicuous to deter Justice Atuguba from erring but he miserably did err. How and where does he factor in the contents of the letter when establishing if indeed statutory violations were committed? How does the content of the letter play a determinant role in arriving at a judgment in favour or against the petitioners or the respondents? Did he rope in the significance of the letter for yet an unexplained reason?

6. Presuming the letter was to pre-empt the hasty declaration of the election results pending proper investigation, the letter was ignored by Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan. Subsequently, it never got mentioned when the petitioners filed the writ in court to challenge the results. Why is the Court allowing for its retrospective tendering in by the third respondent, and what is its significance? If the letter is that useful enough to make any significant change to the determination of the final judgment by the Court, why should Lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata not wait for it to be introduced during the cross-examination of the Star witness for the 1st and 3rd respondents (Johnson Asiedu Nketia)?

7. In the midst of abundance of wealth, why should one suffer poverty? Why should there be hunger in the midst of plenty? Is it down to laziness or lack of knowledge to explore and exploit the available resources to turn them into wealth? With over eleven thousand (11,000) submitted hardcopy pink sheets of evidence, easily availably accessible to inform the court's responsible decision, why is Justice Atuguba seeking a lost needle in a haystack (a letter not submitted as evidence by the petitioners) to help with the court's determination of decision or judgment?

My White legal brains were giggling throughout although, as serious as they were. What an underestimation of intelligence of our noble Supreme Court judge, their body language and actions seemed to convey that message to me? If he wants to be dragged down the drain with Tsatsu "Quote Quote" by Tsatsu Tsikata, then it is his own cup of tea ("palaver"). Mr Tsatsu Tsikata came in just to delay the case. His actions so far make it all too obvious. He has nothing tangible to ask or to offer although, a wrongly perceived legal luminary.

What is the final take of our noble Presiding judge on the letter after reading the expressed views by other competent lawyers overseas? Does he still see it as credibly relevant to the case and therefore be used by Tsatsu Quote Quote to question brainy Dr Bawumia? I leave it to him and the court to brood it for the time being.

Come all ye that lack wisdom to drink from the overflowing fountain of wisdom granted Rockson Adofo, that enviable son of Kumawu/Asiampa, by GOD. Ye shall never lack wisdom if you draw closer to him; a gift accorded him by GOD. God is the source of all wisdom but He has planted a little of it in Rockson that he gives to people free same as Jesus Christ did and the Holy Ghost continues to do.

I dedicate this write-up to one Kyei Boateng, a former student of T.K.S.S. missing in action (intentionally recluses himself) in Canada. Additionally, I seize this opportunity to extend my heartfelt condolences to "Wofa" Osei Dapaah (Kwame Dapaah), Kwabena Osei, Nana Sarpong, Nana Bonsu and Tommy (Son) on the death and final funeral of their beloved sister and mother, Mrs Paulina Bannor. Her funeral takes place in Kumasi/Kumawu any day between Monday 20 May 2013 and Saturday 25 May 2013. The funeral and burial of Mr B.A. Mensah formerly of International Tobacco Ghana Ltd (ITG) also takes place in Kumawu on Saturday, 25 May 2013 I should think. I extend my condolences to all the bereaved family members.

Hate me or like me, I shall always tell the truth; get it off my chest as and when the occasion demands. Once again, I remind all ye discerning Ghanaians to remain RESOLUTE as revealed to Kofi Basoah in a dream by GOD.

Rockson Adofo