The president of the nine-member panel of Justices at the bench hearing the election petition case,Justice William Atuguba, has said the key witness, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has the legal privilege to incriminate himself.
Justice William Atuguba’s comment followed a reminder and warning to Dr. Bawumia, by Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, Counsel for the third respondent, National Democratic Congress(NDC), that, he stood the risk of perjury if he did not tell the truth in court.
Mr. Tsikata’s reminder and warning was strongly objected to by the Lead Counsel for the Petitioners, Mr. Philip Addison.
Mr Addison described Mr. Tsikata’s warning and reminder as amounting to “threatening the witness”.
Ruling on the matter, Justice William Atuguba said Dr. Bawumia had “the privilege to incriminate himself” in court.
Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata has been cross-examining Dr. Bawumia, the second petitioner, for the past three days.
He has been making efforts to bring Dr. Bawumia’s evidence-in-Chief into disrepute through the cross-examination.
The petitioners, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, together with his running mate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, and the party’s National Chairman, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, are challenging the validity of the 2012 presidential polls.
They claim there were widespread irregularities as well as strategically planned rigging, through the collusion of the first respondent, President John Mahama, and the second respondent, the Electoral Commission.
They, therefore, are praying the Supreme Court to annul results in 11,138 polling stations, where they claim, massive and strategic rigging occurred.
Dr Bawumia has been under cross-examination for the past week after he was led in evidence by his Lead Counsel, Philip Addison.
Meanwhile the Chief Editor of the Al Hajj newspaper, Alhaji Bature, says Dr. Bawumia may be forced to make confessions during his cross-examination by Lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata, Counsel for the governing party, in the election case before the Supreme Court.
According to him, Lawyer Tsatsu has ably identified holes in the evidence presented by the petitioners in the case, and established concrete facts against them, something he believed may cause Dr. Bawumia, the principal witness in the case to confess before the court.
He stated in an interview with Radio Gold that, Lawyer Tsatsu, taking his turn to cross-examine the NPP 2012 running mate brought life into the court proceedings, and believes he gave the New Patriotic Party (NPP) legal team a “big blow” in court last Tuesday.
He also said, the cross-examination “totally disorganized the witness”, who, to him, lost his composure when Lawyer Tsatsu began to question him.
“I think that the Electoral Commission’s lawyer or Counsel was not able to establish concrete issues against the petitioners, but I think that Tsatsu brought life into the proceedings…And you could see that throughout the proceedings, Bawumia, for the first time, has comported himself, I think that he has lived up to the billing,” he said, adding “I may not be surprised if this exercise continues further, maybe, Bawumia may be forced to make confessions.”