NPP Application On Pink Sheets Rejected

Philip-AddisonThe Supreme Court yesterday dismissed a motion filed by the petitioners, which sought to direct KPMG, the international audit firm, to make a unique count of 1545 pink sheets which were left out of the initial count it conducted between May and June.
It ruled that the referee’s (KPMG’s) report was auxiliary to the court, and could therefore adjudicate on it.

The court said the petitioners filed the exhibits and were in the position to analyse them, without ordering the referee to do that.
It indicated that any lingering about the exhibits could be cleared by the key witness of the second respondent.
The court further directed the petitioners to compile the list of exhibits, for the second respondent to peruse.

The court further directed the petitioners to provide details of the list of 1545 controversial pink sheets rejected by KPMG for cross checking again.

It accordingly dismissed the motion. Earlier in his submissions, lead counsel for the petitioners, Mr. Philip Addison said upon receiving the KPMG report, the petitioners had the right to accept it whole-heartedly, or in part, for the court to make the required recommendations on it.

He argued that the application had been necessitated by issues which must be addressed, in order to make the report complete.
Mr. Addison said in respect of the 1,545 pink sheets which the report indicated were unclear, the referee should have sought further directives from the court, on how to proceed with them,  but did not.

The petitioners’ counsel therefore referred the court to those grey areas the report did not address. “In the report there are pink sheets found in the presidential set but not in the Registrar’s and we are convinced that if these unique counts are done, it will be clear for all to realise the number of polling stations filed by the petitioners,” he contended.

During Mr. Addison’s submission, a member of the nine-member panel, Justice Sule Gbadegbe directed counsel not to venture into extraneous matters, but deal with the issues at stake.

Another member of the panel, Justice Sophia Adinyira, also asked counsel for the petitioners not to digress, since the bench had studied the motion thus, Mr. Addison should dealt with other issues, because he had the right to respond to the objections raised of the respondents.

Mr. Addison responded by saying that the petitioners disagreed with the arguments advanced by the respondents, hence the need to file the motion for the court’s directives.
Responding to the motion, Dr. Basit Bamba, a member of the legal team of President John Mahama, insisted that granting the motion would unduly prolong the case since the order given to KPMG was specific.

“There is no ambiguity in the order, because it is about a truthful and faithful count, and establishing the identities of the pink sheets was not part of the mandate,” he said.

To buttress his point, he read the mandate given to the firm by the court and pointed out that there was nothing in that order which made reference to the identities of the pink sheets.

Dr. Bamba indicated that what the petitioners sought to do was for the referee to help them to identify the excluded pink sheets.
“The application if granted has other potential ramification which includes the shifting of the burden of proof from the petitioners to the referee,” he said, and described the application as ‘incompetent’.

James Quarshie-Idun, counsel for the Electoral Commission (second respondent) maintained that the application would cause undue delay in the hearing of the case  if granted, bearing in mind that the burden of proof lied with the petitioners.

Associating himself with submissions made by Dr. Bamba and Quashie-Idun, Mr. Tsikata argued that the report explicitly spelt out the exhibit numbers of 1545 pink sheets claimed to be unclear by the petitioners.

Mr. Tsikata insisted that the KPMG report addressed all the concerns raised by all the parties comprehensively and that what the petitioners sought to do was to effectively go outside the orders given by the court.

“The petitioners opposed the referee to be appointed and also opposed the count of the president’s set and they are now asking the referee to do a job outside the direction of the referee,” he said.

Mr. Tsikata said the evidence of the referee’s representative explained how unique pink sheets could be derived.
He added that far as the further and better particulars are concerned, the referee could not be asked to go back to it because it would unduly delay the hearing.

Mr. Tsikata contended that what the petitioners were seeking from the referee was completely different from the orders of the court to the referee.

Mr. Addison then sought leave of the court to respond to concerns raised by the respondents and indicated that all the pink sheets served on KPMG did not have full information to make a clear identification of all the evidence.

He insisted that, “it is not the fault of the petitioners but the fault of the respondents and that the application is intended to tie the loose ends in the report which he brought at the earliest opportunity.”
After the ruling, controversy again raised its  head over the contention of pink sheets, when counsel for the EC informed the court that though the petitioners were given Monday, to give the respondents the list, they presented it to them last morning for perusal and they were yet to check and be satisfied with it.

Mr. Addison reposited and explained that the list of pink sheets were those in the custody of the Registrar and handed on Monday at about 10:30pm and they had to sort them out.

He explained that at that time, the respondents had left the court premises, thus compelling them to deliver them to the respondents, on Tuesday morning.
While Mr. Quarshie-Idun contended that only 905 pink sheets were unsigned, Mr. Addison insisted that they were more than 905. But the respondents kept claiming that they were duplica-tions already covered by the 905.

When the petitioners wanted the respondents to provide details of the duplicated unsigned pink sheets, they rejected the request and pointed out that it was the petitioners’ case.

The respondents argued that since it was the petitioners’ case, they must do the sorting and take from the entire list of unsigned pink sheets, those that had been agreed upon as unsigned by the second respondent.
The controversy raged on for a while, with some members of the bench disagreeing with their line of arguments.
The court, presided over by Justice William Atuguba, then directed the petitioners to do the sorting out and remove all the 905 unsigned pink sheets already mentioned by the respondents.

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 respondents respectively, have denied any wrongdoing, and are of the view that the polls were free, fair and transparent 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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