A private legal practitioner and professor of accounting, Prof. Kwaku Asare, vehemently disagrees with the Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss an application by the 2020 National Democratic Congress’ presidential candidate, John Mahama, to be allowed to inspect documents in the custody of the Electoral Commission (EC).
In his view, granting the request by the petitioner would have enhanced the reputation of the first respondent who is the Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Jean Mensa.
“The EC loses nothing by making available to a petitioner any and all documents that the petitioner believes will help his case. I dare say such willingness to disclose information actually enhances the reputation of the EC and further adds credibility to its declaration,” Kwaku Azar as he is popularly called, added.
Below is his full statement:
The petitioners, both now and in 2013, applied to inspect documents in the custody of the EC.
In both cases, the EC and the Respondent (the one declared elected) opposed the application. In both cases, the Court unanimously rejected the application.
There are some who disagreed with the Court in 2013 but who now agree with the Court. Then there are those who now disagree with the Court but agreed with the Court in 2013.
There may be those who agreed with the Court in 2013 and now. They may have good reasons for their stand.
I disagreed with the Court in 2013 and do now. My reasoning is simple. Unless there is some privilege that is being asserted, all government documents should be discoverable.
The EC loses nothing by making available to a petitioner any and all documents that the petitioner believes will help his case. I dare say such willingness to disclose information actually enhances the reputation of the EC and further adds credibility to its declaration.
Some have said that if you have copies of bank deposit slips then that should be enough if you have a dispute with the bank on your actual balance, where the bank claims to use the same slip but has provided multiple balances. I demur. A customer is entitled to know why the bank gets different balances.
Discovery should let the parties learn about their adversaries’ evidence to give them time to obtain challenging evidence.
The government and its agencies have an even higher duty of disclosure. The Court agreeing to televise the proceedings is the Court’s way of communicating to the public that it has nothing to hide.
I will support a revision of the Court’s rules to compel the EC, and other public agencies, to disclose documents in their custody to those who challenge their decisions.
Anyone who will want these disclosures as a petitioner should support this move. We must avoid taking positions based on where we stand.
The Speaker is right in complaining about the President’s failure to consult Parliament in the appointment of certain categories of Council of State members.
By the same token, the Speaker should also complain about why #SALL citizens are not represented in Parliament.
It is not “on” for the Speaker to complain about the lack of consultation while failing to take notice of SALL’s unprecedented and unlawful disenfranchisement.
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