Supreme Court summons Three

Justice AtugubaThe Supreme Court yesterday sum-moned three persons, including the editor of the Daily Searchlight newspaper to appear before it next Tuesday, July 2, to answer questions on some contemptuous com-ments they made.

The two others are Kweku Boahene, the Ashanti Regional Youth Organiser of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Stephen Atubiga also of the NDC.

Their summons came, barely 24 hours after the court cracked the whip on Sammy Awuku, the Deputy Communications Directors of the New Patriotic Party (NPP The court banned him from attending the rest of the 2012 presidential election petition hearings.

When the hearing commenced yesterday, the Presiding Judge, Justice William Atuguba remarked that Mr. Atubiga had made some contemptuous statements on June 25, 2013, on Asempa FM, the Accra-based radio station and that they would deal with the issue later.
When the nine- member panel returned from recess, Justice Atuguba unexpectly announced the list and issued the instructions that the three appear before the court on Tuesday.

According to Justice Atuguba, Mr. Atubiga had said “Ghana cannot contain all of us, if NPP wins the case.” Mr. Boahene is believed to have made similar comments on Angel and Boss FM stations, both in Kumasi.

Mr. Boahene is also purported to have stated that ‘the NDC would not sit down to allow the Supreme Court of Ghana to overturn the results of the elections in favour of the opposition New Patriotic Party.’

He is allegedly to have asked “do you think NDC would sit aloof and watch the court to hand over power to NPP?  It will never happen in Ghana and any one can mark it on the wall.” Mr. Kuranchie is to give answers to a front page comment  he published in his newspapers on Thursday.

Earlier, Nii Amanor Dodoo, the Head of Audit Practice, a partner of KPMG,  mounted the witness box and was cross- examined by the lead counsel for the petitioners, Philip Addison. He clarified aspects of the final report on the audit of the pink sheets.
Witness denied that 171 errors were advertently made by his firm during the auditing and even though the petitioners drew their attention to it no correction was done.

Witness explained it was only 34 of  the alleged 171  errors that were detected and rectified, and would not necessarily be described as error. Witness said they did not take inventory of pink sheets in the custody of the Court’s Registry and that he did not recall the respondents had filed any pink sheets.

Nii Dodoo indicated that 13,926 pink sheets were in the custody of the Registry and that information on some of the pink sheets was not legible. However only 1,045 of these pink sheets had remarks on them.

When Mr. Addition suggested to him that the petitioners, gave a list of 850 pink sheets from the 1,045  polling on which those remarks were made and that those pink sheets could be identified by pulling station codes, he replied in the affirmative and explained that their mandate was not to identify polling stations by the codes, but ordered to make a faithful count.

Unimpressed with the answer, Mr. Addison chided KPMG for failing to incorporate the comments of the petitioners in their final report.
At this point, Justice Atuguba pointed out that the issues being raised by Mr. Addison bothered on jurisdiction.

Mr. Addition probed further and suggested to the witness that out of the 1045 pink sheets’ remarks by the firm, the petitioners found 1086 with unique polling stations, he said he had no answer. The bench suggested to Mr. Addison to question the witness on his level of knowledge on the matter.

They further asked the counsel to address the bench on some of the issues he had raised. At certain stages of the cross examination, Nii Dodoo informed the court that some of the questions did not demand a yes or no answer but that he would have to explain because the report was based on three issues, which included exhibit numbers, pulling station codes and pulling station names.

He further explained that each situation generated different numbers, due to repetition of some exhibits and that KPMG limited itself to checking the Presiding Judge’s pink sheets, as compared to the Registrar’s.

Witness admitted that there were 2876 pink sheets in the presiding judge’s exhibit , and  the Registrar’s. When Mr. Addison asked Witness whether he was aware that 648 pink sheets used by the petitioners in cross-examining the second respondent, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, were neither part of,  nor the Registrar’s, counsel for the first respondents, Tony Lithur raised an objection.

He said the figures being bandied by the petitioners were untrue and extremely prejudicial. Tsatsu Tsikata, counsel for the NDC also objected to the questions being asked the witness, and  remarked, Mr. Addison was unfair to the witness.

Mr. Addison said he was surprised at the comments made by counsels, since they had presented to the respondents the same comments they petitioners sent to the referee, and that there was no need to raise the objection.

Mr. Lithur raised another objection, accusing Mr. Addison of using the same line of questioning, which resulted in a heated argument between them. Justice Atuguba had to intervene and rule on the matter. By  8-1  majority decision, the objection was over ruled, for hearing to continue.

When the petitioners wanted to tender a statement made on the KPMG report through Witness, Justice Dotse asked Mr. Addison about the purpose of doing so. He indicated that he (witness) was the only  witness he could tender it through.

Mr. Addison added that without the information, the bench would not have the benefit of all that was contained in the document.
Mr. Lither objected to the tendering, and the court had to rule on it.
By a 6-3 majority decision, the objection was sustained. 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

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