A Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Yaw Apaw, has told the second witness of the petitioner in the ongoing election petition hearing, Dr. Michael Kpessa-Whyte that he did not take his training on the elections seriously, hence left the EC strong room at the most crucial moment.
Dr. Kpessa-Whyte had told the court that the chair of the 1st Respondent, Jean Mensa asked him and his other colleague to leave the strong room during collation of the results.
Meanwhile, Lawyer of the Electoral Commission (EC) Justine Amenuvor had told the court that a claim by Kpessa-Whyte to the effect that Jean Mensa asked the representatives of the petitioner in the strong room to leave, is not the case.
Mr. Amenuvor said Kpessa-Whyte and his colleague took the decision to move away from the strong room and not on the instructions of Mrs. Mensa.
But Dr. Kpessa-Whyte insisted during the cross-examination on Tuesday, February 2 that they were instructed to leave the place by the EC chair.
During proceedings, the EC’s lawyer said: “I put it to you that you were not instructed by the Chairperson of the first respondent to leave the room.”
In response, the witness said “My Lords, we were instructed by the first respondents. I have no reason ever to just lie or deceive this honorable court if that was not the case. As I have indicated our leaving there was not in secret.”
Seeking further clarifications on the matter, Justice Apau said “Will it be right to say that by taking contrary instructions from the chairperson of the 1st Respondent, granted what you have said is true, you did not help the course of the petitioner who sent you there?”
Kpessa-Whyte then stated that “My Lord, I don’t believe that is true. We were working in furtherance of making sure that the results that ltimately gets announced by the 1st Respondent reflect and represent the will of the people and if she, asking us to consult with the petitioner is part of how we will get there, we were happy to do it.”
Justice Apau indicated again that: “Then seriously speaking, you did not take your training seriously. I want to be clear, you have gone to do a particular job, then instead of doing the particular job that sent you there, you take instructions from somebody, then you leave your job. That is what I want to find that you did not help the petitioner.”
Lead Counsel of the petitioner, Tsatsu Tsikata raised ab objection to the comment of the Justice saying: “My Lords, His Lordship is entitled to his opinion about what the petitioner did. In terms of factual evidence about what he did and the reason adduced.
“In terms of what the petitioner did and why he did it, he has answered the question so I don’t think he can be harassed with these opinions.”
Justice Apau denied harassing the witness saying “I am not harassing the witness, it is not my duty to harass him. I know that he has been sent there by the petitioner to do the job for him then somebody tells you go to the petitioner and consult him if the petitioner could do the work he himself would have been there. That is what I would want to find out. How am I harassing him?
Tsatsu insisted that Justice Appau harassed the witness.
“Well you are harassing him because the witness has indicated it wasn’t just somebody, the witness has indicated that the Chairperson who is the Returning Officer was the person with whom his colleague had the conversation and on the basis of that they were sent to talk with the petitioner and he had given every account on why.”
Also, Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah has told the second witness of the petitioner to stop delivering lectures and rather answer the questions put to him.
Justice Amenuvor told Dr Kpessa-Whyte that “You are well aware that failure or refusal to sign and leaving the form blank was not an option.”
In an attempt to respond to this, Kpessa-Whye said: “My Lords, in the strong room our understanding was that we were there to make sure that ultimately, whatever is declared as the outcome of the election reflect the will of the people.”
It was at this point that Chief Justice Kwasi Anin intervened and said “Dr. Kpessa-Whyte, please answer the question. Who doesn’t know that the strong room is for you to go through whatever has been submitted.”
Lead counsel for the petitioner Tsastsu Tsikata then stepped in and replied to the Chief Justice that “My Lords, I believe he was in the process of answering.”
Justice Anin said again that “The witness doesn’t have to be allowed to give a lecture before he answers the questions.”
Kpessa-Whye further told the Supreme Court that he has no reason to lie to the justices against the Chairperson of the 1st Respondent, Jean Mensa.