Petitioners Catalogues Irregularities

petitionDr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, the chairman of the  Electoral Commission (EC) was yesterday confronted with all the categories of irregularities which took place during the 2012 presidential election by the petitioners at the on going  hearings at the Supreme Court.

The categories included over-votes, no biometric verification, no signatures by presiding officers at polling stations and duplicate serial numbers.

During cross-examination by lead counsel for the petitioners, Philip Addison, Dr. Afari-Gyan, the key witness for the second respondent, questioned the basis of the petitioners and denied the irregularities.

When Mr. Addison suggested to him that the total number of over-votes amounted to 742,492 at the polling stations out of 10,081, he replied he could not tell, because he did not know the constituencies.
Witness said he could not confirm that 502,013 of the votes  enured to the benefit of President John Mahama, neither did 225,115 of the votes go to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

In respect of no biometric verification, witness disagreed with the petitioners that 810,827 voters were not biometrically verified and insisted that everybody who voted was verified.
Again he said he could not answer the question on whether 558,236 votes enured to President Mahama and 234,161, for Nana Akufo-Addo.

Mr. Addison suggested to Witness that total votes affected by no signatures was 659,135 out of which 447,655 went to President Mahama while 197,628 went  to Nana Akufo-Addo; he replied he had no basis for knowing that.

Dr. Afari-Gyan disagreed with Mr. Addison when he was asked to confirm that duplicate serial number votes amounted to 3,499,308, out of which 2,338,993 votes went to President Mahama, while Nana Akufo-Addo had 1,093,661.

Witness denied that out of the total votes of 3,919,385 attributes to irregularities, 2,612,788 went to President Mahama while Nana Akufo-Addo had 1,228,229 and further denied that the major beneficiary of the violations was President Mahama.
When Mr. Addison asked Dr. Afari-Gyan whether he had contrary figures, he indicated that he announced the correct figures, adding that he had no basis to change results he had announced.

The petitioners played to him a recording of his address at the Editors Forum on December 5, 2012 and he confirmed it was his voice.
When asked by Counsel to confirm whether there was an over vote which led to cancellation of results to pave the way for a re run, witness replied in the negative and maintained that it would have been cancelled and a rerun ordered, if the results made a difference.
Then there, a standoff broke out between Mr. Addison and James Quarshie-Idun, counsel for the EC.

When he (Addison) indicated to the court that he had completed his cross-examination Mr. Quarshie-Idun hinted  there would be no re-examination of  Witness, but reminded the court that there was information his witness had to deliver to the court.
He said Witness promised to present to the court duplications and triplications of some serial numbers.
Mr. Addison reposited and indicated that it would be grossly unfair for Witness to be allowed to introduce fresh evidence, when the petitioners had finished their cross-examination.

When the court granted Mr. Quarshie-Idun the request to ask his witness to explain the reason for the duplications of serial numbers, Witness said he was presented with five sets of pink sheets and the first three sets were triplicate and the last two sets, quadruplicates.
Witness said he was in possession of the pink sheets but only made a list to corroborate the finding and wished to tender it.
Mr. Addison objected and argued that Witness could not be in a possession of a  piece of paper and mentioned serial numbers when he had already confirmed the duplicates and triplicates on the pink sheets.

“No proper foundation has been laid, since the second respondent has not found it necessary to file any pink sheets at all, and at the tail end of the proceedings, they provide a bundle of pink sheets,” he argued.
Responding, Mr. Quarshie-Idun said it was an attempt to suppress the truth, to which Mr. Addison disagreed.
Mr. Addison submitted that Dr. Afari-Gyan was provided with the pink sheets and could have cross-checked with pink sheets in the possession of Witness.

He confirmed the serial numbers and admitted that there were triplicates, so for Witness to come back with a pile of pink sheets, was unacceptable. Justice Atuguba, the Presiding Judge of the nine-member panel, intervened and assured the petitioners that they would be given the opportunity to re-cross-examine the witness on the new findings.

By a 7-2 majority decision, the court over-ruled an objection raised by the respondents on cross-examination of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the key of the petitioners regarding what occurred at the Ledzokuku constituency in the Greater Accra Region.
They contended that Dr. Bawumia had abandoned those allega-tions and were not part of the case the petitioners had brought before the court, which was corroborated by Mr. Quarshie-Idun.

The petitioners responded that their key witness did not have the full complement of the pink sheets during his cross-examination, and that was the reason why they had to abandon the case. Counsel for the petitioners argued that  Witness’ credibility was at stake since he was capable of answering serious questions challenging the results raised on the collation sheets.

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 sta-tions.
The petitioners are, therefore, calling for the annulment of 4,670,504 votes cast in the 11,916 polling stations.
But, President Maha-ma, the Electoral Com-mission (EC) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) first, second and third res-pondents respectively, have denied any wrong-doing, 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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