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Ghana’s Most Exciting Legal Battle Begins…   
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Nana Asante Bediatuo
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A large number of the fine legal brains (Lawyers) in Ghana have been contracted by both NPP and NDC, the most popular political parties in the country to handle the Landmark Electoral Results Dispute case before Supreme Court of Ghana.

Just before the Electoral Commission (EC) was ready to declare the 2012 presidential Elections on 9th Dec. 2012, NPP the biggest opposition party in Ghana prompted the (EC) to hold on and cross check alleged irregularities and malpractices which went on during the Elections of which NPP thinks had affected the final Results to the advantage of the ruling NDC and its presidential candidate, John Dramani Mahama, now sworn in as President of the Republic of Ghana on 7th December 2012 amidst pomp and pageantry and in the presence of a large audience including World Leaders and Numerous dignitaries, in Accra.

The (EC) urged NPP to wait for them to announce the results after which if they have any concerns they can send to court for redress.
Lo and behold, after the results were declared NPP made its intention public to go to court, which as we speak had filed a petition at the Supreme Court of Ghana. NPP’s Petition says 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.

But in a rebuttal to this allegation, the (EC) says the results were accurate and fair, and also the results is a true reflection of the will of the people. The petition was filed by Nana Akuffo Addo, flagbear of NPP Party Chairman, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey and Running mate, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia.

They are contending among other things t hat 12% (1.34 million) votes counted were in fact illegal and ought not to have been included in the declared total, and that over 916,000 votes wrongly went to John Dramani Mahama.

NPP also contended that the voters Register was not given to the party early, among other irregularities, for which they are praying the Supreme Court to annul or nullify the 2012 Presidential Election. Electoral Commission has since filed a response to the Supreme Court denying all the allegations and also prayed the court to dismiss NPP’s Petition because it lacks merit, stressing that NPP polling agents provided the party hierarchy with inaccurate information.

President Mahama’s Lawyer Tony Lither, Tsatsu Tsikata and other top lawyers have also filed their response at the Supreme Court. The 15-paged Response States that they intend calling 4,800 witnesses to testify in favour of President Mahama whose legal team want to join him to the (EC) in the suit as interested party. President Mahama’s response challenged the petitioners legal team to provide the Names and other particulars of the polling stations that the alleged malpractices took place in favour of NDC Presidential Candidate.

The Response rebutted and denied all the allegations and stressed that Mahama won the Election genuinely. The Response includes Legal authorities, precedents or reported cases that the President’s Lawyers intend using to support their stance or arguments.
Meanwhile, the case is pending at the Supreme Court. At the first sitting a panel of Nine Learned Justices were assembled to handle the “hot” case. They are; His Lordship, Justice William Atuguba-Presiding, others are; Justices Julius Ansah, Mrs. Sophia Adinyira, Mrs. Rose Owusu, Jones Dotse, Anim Yeboah, Paul Baffoe Bonnie, G.S. Gbadegbe and Vida Akoto Bamfo.

NPP legal team raised an object to one of the panelist but later declined to pursue the said Judge’s removal from the panel by declining to file a formal motion to that effect. It was widely believed that Justice Atuguba was the Judge NPP legal team wanted removed earlier because of his blood or family relationship with Dr. Raymond Atuguba, his cousin and Executive Secretary to President Mahama, who is a party to the suit. There was a feeling in NPP circles that Justice Atuguba could be bias in the case, but their lawyers declined to pursue that course.

Justice Atuguba himself did not take it lightly as he sensed NPP legal team doubted his “legibility” and be fair. He flared up and noted in open court that Ghana has a strong Judiciary but it is breaking down. The Judge was not obviously happy about this development as he emotionally spoke indirectly against it, before adjourning the case sine dine (indefinitely) for NPP’s formal motion which they have declined to file.

The case is expected to be called tomorrow for the legal battle to formally begin with consideration of NDC’s Presidential Candidate (2012) and President (Mahama) to join (EC) in the suit. The NPP has a strong legal representation, which include, Lawyers; Philip Addison, Gloria Akuffo, Frank Davies, Alex Quaynor, Akoto Ampaw, Kwame Akuffo, Nana Asante Bediatuo, Godfred Yeboah Odame, Professor Ken Attafua, Egbert Faibille and others. The Electoral also assembled experienced lawyers of high professional repute in the persons of lawyers James Quarshie-Idun and Anthony Dadzie.

Tsatsu Tsikata
The NDC/President Mahama legal team is equally solid with legal names like the legal wizard Tsatsu Tsikata, Dr. Raymond Atuguba - he was not in court at the first sitting anyway, Nana Ato Dadzie, Tony Lithur, Dr. Abdul Basit Aziz Bamba and other fine lawyers.
With the issue of the panel laid to rest, it is expected that the marathon legal battle will begin tomorrow.

The whole Nation has interest in the case and waiting to listen and to read the interesting proceedings from the media. It is expected that at the end of the day, the Supreme Court will come out with a fair judgement that will lay the matter the rest.
Source: Bernard Quanson/Court correspondent/ Peace FM

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