You should rather be happy that respondents say they won’t testify – Oppong Nkrumah to petitioner

Information Minister-designate, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has said that lawyers of the petitioner in the ongoing election petition hearing should rather be happy that the respondents have chosen not to present witnesses to testify in the case.

His comment comes after spokesperson of the lawyers of the petitioner, Dr Dominic Ayine had said that the respondents are embarking on a dangerous path by electing not to testify in the case.

Lawyer for the Electoral Commission (EC) Justin Amenuvor on Monday February 8 moved to close his case in the ongoing election petition hearing after the cross examination of the third witness of the petitioner, Rojo Mettle Nunoo without Jean Mensa being cross-examined.

Mr Amenuvor told the court that given the evidence of the petitioner’s witnesses who were crossed examined in the case, they do not want to lead any further evidence.

“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 petitioner, Tsatsu Tsikata however objected to the move by lawyer for the 1st Respondent.

Dr Ayine wondered on Joy News Monday February 8 why the respondents will take such as decision in the face of the dire consequences it may have on them in the case.

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He also said for the sake of accountability, the Chair of the 1st Respondent, Jean Mensa, should mount the witness box to testify.

However, speaking on the same channel, Mr Opong Nkrumah said if the decision not to testify will have dire consequences for the respondents, then that should rather make the petitioner and his lawyers happy.

He further stated that the respondent acted in law in deciding not to testify.

On the issue of accountability, the Ofoase Ayirebi lawmaker said “If you wanted accountability you could have hauled her before parliament. Once you sue her you must meet the legal threshold.”

A private legal practitioner Martin Kpebu said also that before any party in a case will choose not to testify, that party must be 200 per cent sure that the opponent has a weak case.

Mr Kpebu expressed surprised at this decision.

He said “I was surprised because I didn’t know she will use such a tool in her tool box.  In law that is permitted anyway but before any party chooses not to testify then that party must be 200% sure that the case of the opponent would not stand firm.

“That is the real meaning of Madam Jean Mensa’s election not to testify.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana