Afari-Gyan Rejects NPP’s Soft Copy Of Voters Register

Afari-GyanDr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, the Chair-man of the Electoral Commission, yesterday informed the nine-member panel of the Supreme Court hear-ing the ongoing 2012 pre-sidential election petition, that a copy of the voters register that the petitioners sought to tender in evidence, was different from the EC’s own.

He explained that the Commission provided all the political parties with soft copies of the register in formats, which made it difficult to be altered.

He insisted that the petitioners’ document was not the register used for the 2012 general election.
Mr. Addison dared the witness to prove that the register the EC provided the parties in soft copy PDF format was different from what the petitioners had presented to the court.

Witness informed the court that he did not know what a PDF format was, but the EC provided the parties with soft copies of the voters’ register in formats, which made it difficult to be altered.
Mr. Addison indicated that it was a serious allegation for the chairman of the EC was suggesting to the court.

He (Addison) showed to the court two drives which he contended contained all the details of the soft copy of the register provided by the EC, to the political parties.
Witness denied that the register of the EC was manipulated after the elections when, Mr. Addison posited the EC register was printed on Tuesday, July 9, 2013, but that of the petitioners was printed on November 21,2012.

It all began when Mr. Addison asked Witness if he had cross-checked the register from his office against that to be tendered by the petitioners.

When he (Addison) attempted to tender the document, James Quarshie-Idun, counsel for the EC objected, arguing that Witness had not accepted the authenticity of the document.

He insisted that Witness would only accept if the two documents were tendered in evidence.
Tsatsu Tsikata, counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), then objected and quoted portions of the Evidence Decree to buttress his objection, contending that unless it was proven to the satisfaction of the court that the document of the petitioners was authentic, it would be prejudicial for the court to accept it.

Dr. Basit Bamba, one of the counsels for President John Mahama, associating himself with the submissions of Mr. Quarshie-Idun and Tsikata, said the basic rule was for the witness to be able to answer questions from an exhibit he could authenticate, but that did not appear to be the case.

He said the current situation, if allowed, could be a source of concern to the court, because Witness had told the court that the arrangement of pictures in the original document was different from the one in the petitioners’ register.

Justice Sophia Adinyira, a member of the panel, noted that the arguments of the respondents had been flogged, because the fact that the first and third respondents could not cross-examine Witness did not mean the petitioners could also not cross-examine him.

When Mr. Addison asked Witness whether he has been able to identify 850 codes with the EC pink sheets, he replied that he did not see why the petitioners were only concentrating on 850 pink sheets, when the court ordered for 1545 pink sheets.

Mr. Addison suggested to Dr. Afari-Gyan that the figures on the pink sheets for President John Mahama was 53,710 but the one declared by the EC was 67,710, a difference of whopping 14,000 in the Ledzokuku constituency in the Greater Accra Region, Witness said unless the results were provided, he would not know.

In the same constituency, Mr. Addison further suggested to Witness that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo had 40662 on the pink sheets, but the results declared by the EC was 30,605, thus a difference of 10,507 missing, Witness said unless the results were provided, he would not know.

Mr. Quarshie-Idun vehemently objected to the mode of cross-examination by Mr. Addison maintaining that the correlation between results on the pink sheets and the ones declared by the EC were abandoned by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, key witness for the petitioners, and that it was not in line with the pleadings of the petitioners.

Mr. Tsikata quoted a letter upon which he attempted to cross-examine Dr. Bawumia on, but he (Bawumia) indicated that the petitioners had abandoned some of their pleadings.

He argued that the issue of Ledzorkuku was not pleaded but mentioned in a list of constituencies in which the petitioners claimed to have received calls from places where there were irregularities.
Mr. Tsikata prayed the court to disallow the question, since it would be prejudicial.

Mr. Addison rebutted and said the questions posed by the respondents during cross-examination of Dr. Bawumia was uncalled for, since he did not organise the elections.
But Mr. Tsikata insisted that the questions being posed to Dr. Afari-Gyan were the pleadings of the petitioners’ better and further particulars and read portions to buttress his assertion.
Mr. Addison indicated Dr. Afrari-Gyan was the right witness to answer questions on the declaration of election results since he was the returning officer.

The court resolved to cross check the date today. During stages of the cross-examination, the respondents raised an objection about substantial blank spaces in the 547 pink sheets provided them by the petitioners for their perusal last Friday.

They submitted that the pink sheets were not accompanied by corresponding codes.
The respondents noted that a cursory examination of the pink sheets were unclear as to the name and polling station codes.

Responding, Mr. Addison explained that they faced genuine challenges with the printing of the pink sheets.
Mr. Addison took the witness through a list of pink sheets in the possession of the witness and he confirmed that no special voting took place in the places which bore the same polling stations’ code.
When he suggested to the witness that no special voting took place in the places the list suggested special voting took place, witness said he could not confirm whether special voting took place there or not.
Dr. Afari-Gyan informed the court that he never said every duplicated pink sheet code was necessarily a result of special voting.

The petitioners, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, his running mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, and Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, are challenging the result of the 2012 presidential elections in which the Electoral Commission (EC) declared President John Mahama the winner.

They are contending that gross and widespread irregularities took place in the 11,916 polling stations.
The petitioners are, therefore, calling for the annulment of 4,670,504 votes cast in the 11,916 polling stations.

But, President Mahama, the Electoral Commission (EC) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) first, second and third respon-dents respecti-vely, have denied any wrongdoing, and are of the view that the polls were free, fair and trans-parent and for that reason the results were credible and accurate.

The nine-member panel of judges hearing the case is presided over by Justice William Atugubah.
The other members are Justices Julius Ansah, Mrs. Sophia Adinyira, Ms. Rose Owusu, Jones Dotse, Annin Yeboah, Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, N. S. Gbadegbe and Mrs Vida Akoto-Bamfo. - Winston Tamakloe

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