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General News Tue, 16 Jul 2013

Petitioners confront Afari-Gyan over vote padding

Drama unfolded at the Supreme Court yesterday when the Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, was confronted with collated results of the petitioners from the Ledzokuku Constituency in the Greater Accra Region which showed that there was vote padding in favour of President John Dramani Mahama.


According to the petitioners in the 2012 presidential election results, the President polled 53,710 votes, not the 67,710 declared by the EC in his favour.


Lead counsel for the petitioners, Mr Philip Addison, in his further cross-examination of Dr Afari Gyan, told the court that the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, polled 40,662 votes, not the 30,605 declared in his name by the EC.


Those discrepancies, according to counsel, resulted in President Mahama gaining 14,000 additional votes, while Nana Akufo-Addo lost 10,057 votes.


However, the respondents in the case opposed that line of cross-examination on the grounds that it had not been pleaded and would be prejudicial to their case. Displeased with that line of cross-examination, the lead counsel for the EC, Mr James Quashie-Idun, opposed the question on the ground that the petitioners had not pleaded those issues in their original pleadings.


According to Mr Quashie-Idun, the question was different from the pleadings of the petitioners who had said they were no longer relying on that discrepancy.

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This is prejudicial


Lead counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, objected to the issue on the Ledzokuku Constituency results and said he did not continue the cross-examination of the star witness for the petitioners, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, on those issues because Dr Bawumia had said the petitioners were not relying on the allegation of vote padding.


“We will be severely prejudiced because we have completed our cross-examination,” Mr Tsikata said, but Mr Addison told the court that Dr Bawumia was not the returning officer of the presidential election.


Counsel further submitted that those matters were raised in paragraphs 20 and 21 of Dr Bawumia’s affidavit evidence.


Question Stood Down


The question on the alleged vote padding in favour of President Mahama was stood down to enable the court to go through the records of the court on the issue.

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Dr Afari-Gyan also told the court that he had verified the issue on alleged triplicate and quadruplicate serial numbers on pink sheets and is expected to give his findings on it to the court later.


List of 547 pink sheets


Counsel for the EC, Mr Quashie-Idun, informed the court that he had received a list and set of 547 pink sheets from the petitioners, adding that some of the pink sheets were blank.


Counsel for the President, Dr Abdul Aziz Basit Bamba, said he also received a list for 547 pink sheets but the list was not accompanied by pink sheets.


There should have been deletions


Counsel for the NDC, Mr Tsikata, said although his side received a list for the 547 pink sheets, a random check of the pink sheets submitted to the EC revealed that the list did not correspond with the pink sheets.

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According to counsel, the petitioners must endeavour to delete the names of polling stations which they claimed were not captured in the registrar's set but in the President of the court's set because his side had issues with some of them.


We had some challenges


Mr Addison told the court that his team could not supply counsel for the President and the NDC with the 547 pink sheets because some challenges were encountered during printing.


He explained that 850 out of the 1,545 pink sheets which were excluded in the KPMG report had polling station codes.


Counsel explained that pink sheets for those 850 polling stations were not given because their codes could be checked.


He said 547 pink sheets were ineligible and for that reason if the respondents were able to demonstrate which pink sheets in the registrar's set were present and for which petitioners held a different view, the petitioners would delete them.

Mr Addison queried Dr Afari-Gyan if he had verified whether a list of eight pairs of polling stations with same codes had been used for special voting, to which the witness said he could not confirm that.


Mr Addison then suggested to the witness that none of the 16 polling stations had been used for special voting as he (witness) had stated in court.

Source: Daily Graphic
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