Hearing commenced at 9:30am. After the announcement of parties and their respective Counsel. Counsel for the petitioner informed the Court he had been served with copies of the opposition of Respondents to the application to inspect documents.
In moving his application, Counsel for the Petitioner submitted that in view of the continuous changes in figures announced by the Chair of the 1st Respondent, it was necessary to have access to the originals so as to properly validate the numbers forming the basis of 1st Respondent’s declaration.
Counsel further submitted that Counsel for Respondents had cross-examined their witnesses on some of documents they sought to inspect. He cited an example of the Eastern regional summary sheet, which they were possessed of two but the 1st Respondent was claiming one was a corrected version.
He concluded his submissions by referring to a ruling of the Supreme Court in a similar application in 2013 which was refused. He submitted that in 2013, the Court refused it because the petitioner had put out, duplicates of some of the documents he was requesting to inspect hence the Court disallowed the request saying Petitioner had by that action demonstrated he had those documents. He informed the Court that in this case, they have not put out any figures and are relying on the words in the 1st Respondent’s declaration.
Torkonoo JSC asked Counsel for the 1st Respondent what happens after the inspection and he responded they want to compare them with documents they have. The learned judge then noted that so the Petitoner has some documents but don’t see the need to bring to the court what they have.
OPPOSITION TO MOTION
Counsel for 1st Respondent.
Counsel for the 1st Respondent submitted that the Petitioner has failed to bring the application timeously since it is being filed on the 34th day after the petition was filed. He submitted that the Petitioner could not arrogate for himself the power of the Court and determine what procedure to use in the absence of clear rules.
Counsel continued that, the witnesses of the Petitioner, Mr Asiedu Nketiah and Dr. Kpessah Whyte had admitted under oath that Petitioner had duplicate copies of all the documents being requested hence the request was unnecessary. He concluded that the Petitioner had failed to provide any evidence to support the application hence same should be dismissed.
Counsel for 2nd Respondent.
Counsel for the 2nd Respondent submitted that at the heart of the application by the Petitioner was the question of the who had the duty of proving his case and providing sufficient evidence in the case. He argued that for the Petitioner to request to inspect the originals of documents, he must first produce what he has and contend that his is different from the 1st Respondent’s. Having failed to produce his copies for reasons best known to himself, the application, which seeks to shift the duty of who must produce evidence is completely a misconceived procedure and the Court should disallow it. He further noted that mention has only been made of transparency and fair hearing without any factual demonstration of how they would be affected by the application .
Counsel further submitted that, the Petitioner has failed to meet the basic requirements of such an application as contained in the rules. These included demonstrating that the inspection of the documents was necessary either to dispose fairly the matter or save cost. Counsel concluded that the interpretation placed on the ruling of the court in 2013 was completely out of place and proceeded to demonstrate why. He then prayed the Application to be dismissed.
RULING AFTER RECESS
The Chief Justice in reading the ruling of the court noted that under C.I. 127, all candidates were entitled to the documents which Petitioner was seeking to inspect. He further noted that the witnesses of the Petitioner have both admitted under oath that the Petitioner has the documents through his witnesses. Additionally, Petitioner had not demonstrated he had no copies of the documents requested and under the Evidence Act, a duplicate of a document is admissible to the same extent as the original.Since the grant of the application was in the discretion of the court and proceedings so far do not show that the Petitioner doesn’t have, the application would be refused. Finally, the discrepancies alluded to by Petitioner are issues of evidence and din of give rise to the present application. The application is therefore dismissed.
Counsel for the Petitioner informed the Court that they had an additional witness whom could not appear because of ill-health hence they wanted to disclose the details of the ill-health to the Court in-camera.
The Court therefore recessed.
The matter was adjourned to Friday, 5th February, 2021