24April2014

The New Statesman

Ghana's Oldest Mainstream Newspaper

For Substantial Justice in 2012 Election Petition LET’S NOT SUPPRESS EVIDENCE - Supreme Court tells respondents

Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, is today expected back in the witness box of the Supreme Court, hearing the 2012 Presidential Election Petition, to face the probing questions of Philip Addison, Lead Counsel for the petitioners, as he resumes his cross-examination of the principal witness of the 2nd respondent.


 
The cross-examination of Dr Afari-Gyan was put on hold pending the outcome of the count of pink sheet exhibits by KPMG, following controversies in respect of the number of pink sheet exhibits filed by the petitioners, as well as the number served on the respondents.
 
Even though the respondents had said they were not served with all the numbers the petitioners were supposed to have filed, they were not ready to tell the actual numbers available to them. As of yesterday, they had still not disclosed what they had been served with, even after the KPMG count had established that the petitioners filed more than the number of pink sheet exhibits they were expected to file.
 
At the instance of Mr Addison, the court yesterday gave the directive that cross-examination of the EC’s witness could go on today, using pink sheet exhibits, and that if the respondents should claim that they do not have some pink sheets it would be “their own palaver” so long as those pink sheets are found in the court’s set of exhibits.
 
"If the respondents don't want to tell us the number of pinksheets they have, it is their own business. So let’s continue and leave them, because we are working with the pinksheets at the custody of the court and not those with the respondents. If they don't have some and won't request for it, then it is their own palaver. You claimed to have filed 11,842 pinksheets,but it has now turned out that you have filed more than the number you've mentioned. So we don't see why we should be here talking about this one issue for that long. By next week, you should be looking at your addresses. Afterall, Dr Bawumia in the witness box kept saying that he used it once in his analysis despite some of the pinksheets being filed in duplicates or whatever. The analysis are going to be looked at,” Justice Sophiah Adiyirah indicated yesterday.

 
Before the directive came, Justice Baffoe-Bonnie had indicated that for substantial justice to be delivered in the case, it would not be proper to “suppress evidence.”
 
This was after Mr Addison had drawn the attention of the court to the fact that 1,545 pink sheets had been excluded from the count done by KPMG on grounds that they could not be identified by polling station names, polling station codes and exhbit numbers.

He maintained the reasons cited  for excluding those pink sheets were not tenable, explaining that those pink sheets could at least be identified by one of the features mentioned above.
 
The respondents had argued that issues regarding the 1,545 pink sheets should be reserved for the address of the petitioners, but Justice Baffoe- Bonnie came in here after he had been made to understnd that the pink sheets in contention could be idenfied with a least one of the features KPMG was to look for in its count. The justice indicated that he had all along thought that the pink sheets were rejected because they lacked all the features outlined.

Justice Baffoe-Bonnie explained that because the petitioners were seeking annulment of votes, it was important to settle issues regarding the contested pink sheets, adding that there should not be any attempt to “suppress evidence” in order to allow “substantial justice” to be served in the case.
 
President of the panel of judges, Justice William Atuguba, said it was clear the petitioners filed pink sheet exhibits in excess of what they were expected to file, and so the “cross-matching” did not even matter.
 
On the issue of duplication of pink sheet exhibits, Justice Atuguba indicated that what was most important was whether each of the pink sheets was used once in the analysis done by the petitioners, as had been claimed by their star witness and second petitioner, Mahamudu Bawumia.
 
Mr Addison said the petitioners had  been vindicated by the KPMG audit report because it had confirmed that they  indeed filed 11,842 pink sheets.
Even though Amanor Dodoo of KPMG had testified in court that only 8,675 pink sheets were uniquely identified and counted, Mr Addison maintained that a thorough scrutiny of the KPMG report had shown that the petitioners filed more than 11,000 unique pink sheet exhibits.

He explained that  apart from the 8,675 counted by KPMG, there were additional 1,291 out of 1545 rejected pink sheets by the referee which had been identified, while 2,876 pink sheets found in the set of the president of the panel were not in the registrar’s set.

Mr Addison added that 871 unique pink sheets were also found in the president’s set although KPMG did no unique count of that set, while some 485 and 655 more sheets were not taken into consideration in the final count. The sum of these figures goes to prove the petitioners filed about 11,842 pink sheets, he explained.