General News of Thu, 30 Jun 201672

Fresh controversy looms as plaintiff dismisses EC's NHIS list

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Fresh controversy is looming over the list of names submitted for a possible deletion from the voters register with the plaintiffs dismissing the list as fictitious.

Lawyers for Abu Ramadan who brought the case, have condemned the EC for submitting a list they describe as fictitious and conjured.

The accusations come after the Supreme Court directed that the plaintiffs who are demanding the deletion of the names, go through the list.

The Electoral Commission (EC) has presented about 56,000 names for deletion from the voters' register after the Court ruled that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) card which they used as proof of citizenship was unconstitutional.

The plaintiffs, former Youth Organizer of the People's National Convention (PNC), Abu Ramadan and Evans Nimako, have been instructed to go through the list pending new directions from the Court.

The Supreme Court is supervising the process to delete the names after it perceived the EC to be feet dragging over an order in May to delete the names.

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Chief Justice, Georgina Wood gave Frank Davies, counsel for Abu Ramadan and Evans Nimako one hour to peruse the list.

But Frank Davies moments later fired the first shot after he pointed out there are “teething difficulties” with the list, Joy News' Raymond Acquah has reported.

Picking out an example, Mr Davies noted that there are no NHIS numbers from 18-55 names of the voters list presented for Afigya Kwabre constituency. In Asokwa in the Asante Akim Central constituency in the Ashanti Region, Mr Davies said he found it strange that only one person is supposed to have registered using the NHIS card. He claimed that they know persons who registered with the NHIS card in Asokwa.

The Chief Justice invited him to submit the names of such persons noting that the integrity of the voters register is a "shared responsibility". The EC has defended the list explaining that the names were generated from the registration form 1A.

According to Mr Davies, the Commission cannot extract the names of NHIS registrants using the primary data form 1A because there was no space on the form to state which means of registration was used.

Counsel for the Electoral Commission, Thaddeus Sory explained that the absence of the NHIS numbers on some of the list is an omission by the registration officer.

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But Mr Davies expressed disappointment and said he was at a loss as to how the EC came by the names of NHIS card registrants. For him, the list at the very least is fictitious.

Abu Ramadan after the court adjourned sitting to next week, told Joy News's Raymond Acquah that the names submitted are far less than the number expected from the EC.

He said in open court, the Attorney-General said there were millions to be disenfranchised if names of NHIS registrants were deleted.

"If you say a majority, if you say millions and you come to court and you give us less than a 100,000, you have not done justice to the [issue]," he said. He said the list is less than 60,000 names.

In the last reported controversy over a list in court, the Supreme Court appointed audit firm, KPMG to audit pink sheet exhibits provided to the court by NPP petitioners in the presidential election petition in 2013.

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