General News of 2014-01-26

Justice Atuguba changed the judgement - Jake laments

National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and third petitioner in the groundbreaking election 2012 petition, Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, four months on, is accusing the President of the nine-judge panel, Justice William Anaam Atuguba, of changing the verdict in favour of the respondents.

According to him, five out of the nine justices indicated by the direction of their voting that there were irregularities with the 2012 elections and those irregularities affected the outcome of the elections.

As a result, he deduces, verdict should have gone for the petitioners – Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and himself.

“Unfortunately, when the presiding judge decided to give the judgement, he changed it from the two things he had asked us to prove from the beginning,” he said on Saturday, January 25, 2014 when he took his turn on TV3’s Hot Issues.

“Unfortunately, because the goalposts were moved we didn’t get the decision,” he bemoaned.

He said if the judges had stuck to the two terms of consideration of the petition instead of breaking them into six separate issues, a different judgement would have been announced.

“Bitter as it may, the candidate Nana Addo with the support of the National Executive and the National Council went ahead and said that we will not seek review,” Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey remarked.

He said the changing of the terms of consideration of the petition while the case was ongoing left much to be desired.

“You don’t change goalposts in the middle of the game,” he expressed frustration.

The landmark election petition sought to annul results of the 2012 presidential elections, which saw National Democratic Congress’ John Dramani Mahama beat NPP’s Nana Addo 50.7 per cent to 47.74 per cent in one of the highly-turned out elections in Ghana’s history.

The third petitioner in the landmark suit claimed by the petition, they were seeking review of the results of the presidential polls, but the judges rather turned out to be “trying the matter”.

“Some of the judges, in fact, had been a long time away from the practice of the high court and so were a little bit rusty in what could pertain.”

He said by the verdict, most of the Members of Parliament in Ghana are representing “empty lands, mountains, forests and lakes instead of, as they are supposed to do as the terms of the Constitution, representing people.”

Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey indicated that the NPP has learnt its lessons well and has put in place plans to equip its invigilators for the 2016 elections.