Friday, 26 April 2013

forgery suspected in akufo-addo’s evidence

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Counsel for Electoral Commission (EC) James Quashie-Idun’s attempt to cast doubts on the pink sheets evidence presented to the Supreme Court by the Nana Akufo-Addo and the two others yesterday, was blocked by Presiding Judge, William Atuguba, after he upheld objections from lawyers for the litigants, and asked him to do so later.

Mr Quarshie-Idun, had sought to show Dr. Bawumia that the pink sheet documents on the Special Voting exercise were not authentic, since the EC had properly identified the sheets by marking some inscriptions on them, unlike those that the litigants submitted to the court, was rejected following an objection from Nana Addo’s lawyer, Philip Addison.

The objection from Mr. Addison was that the EC, although had had the Pink Sheets on the Special Voting, did not plead it in its Affidavit submitted to the court as instructed by the Supreme Court. He raised doubts about the document, suggesting that it might have been clandestinely done to ostensibly outwit the petition.


Mr. Addison’s claims got Mr. Tony Lithur onto his feet, questioning whether or not Nana Addo and the other petitioners had not also deceitfully omitted the inscription on that particular Pink Sheet, to support their claim of electoral irregularities to have the Supreme Court overturn the results of the presidential election.

He said the EC was the legally mandated national body to organize elections in the country, therefore a custodian of the original documents, hence must be allowed to tender in the evidence for comparison.

Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, who is lawyer for the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), also argued that the Pink Sheets should be allowed because the discrepancies in the two Pink Sheets, could be a pointer to an issue of “forgery” on the part of the petitioners.

A heated exchange went on until the Supreme Court upheld the objection of Nana Addo’s lawyers, and advised Mr. Quarshie-Idun to submit the document on a later date.

Earlier there was another objection to Counsel for EC, second respondent, when he sought to “tender in” pink sheets of a polling station named “Presby JHS code number H23 0401?, where NPP’s 2012 Vice-Presidential candidate and key witness, Dr. Bawumia, voted.

Lawyer Quarshie-Idun had sought to cross-examine Dr. Bawumia on the said polling station pink sheets.

He argued that it was part of the 26,000 pink sheets used by the EC to declare the winner of the 2012 presidential election results. He was supported by Tony Lithur, counsel for first respondent, President John Mahama, and Tsatsu Tsikata, counsel for the NDC.

But lawyer for the petitioners, Phillip Addison, raised an objection and cited that Mr. Quarshie-Idun was engaging in “ambush litigation” and accused him of “springing pink sheets” in court that were not part of the affidavits and therefore not in contention.

“We are not contesting 26,000 pink sheets”, he emphasized, but rather 11,842 and challenged counsel to “fish out” any pink sheet among these pink sheets as “an example” for his cross-examination.

Again, counsel for the petitioners questioned the relevance of using Dr. Bawumia’s polling station, especially when that polling station was “not in contention”.

He said though “ground rules” for litigation required that each party filed affidavits to which the E.C had submitted none and was therefore bound to use only affidavits submitted by counsel for petitioners.

In his ruling, Presiding Judge William Atuguba said that “by a majority of 6 -3, objection was upheld”. Meanwhile, the President of the nine-panel judges, Justice Atuguba has warned Dr. Bawumia to be straight forward in answering questions and avoid the theatrics.

The warning followed a retort from Dr. Bawumia-the Second Petitioner in the case-to the EC’s lawyer, Dr. Quarshie-Idun during cross-examination of the 2012 Vice Presidential Candidate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) as far as the results of the 2012 elections were concerned.

Dr. Bawumia, the chief witness in the election petition case has been described by some NDC lawyers as being a bit evasive on his answers and rather resorting to long and winding explanations.

In response to a question posed by Counsel Quarshie-Idun whether the petitioners were provided with voters register in November 2012, Bawumia answered in the affirmative and attempted to explain further.

But Justice Atuguba intervened and told Dr. Bawumia that “your theatricals are superfluous”, adding “give a direct answer to his questions that all”.

The NPP’s 2012 Presidential Candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (First Respondent), together with Dr Bawumia and the Party’s National Chairman, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey were in court, challenging the validity of the election results as declared by the country’s electoral commission after the December 7 and 8 general elections.

The petitioners argued that the elections were fraught with unpardonable flaws which must not be left uninvestigated.

They accused the incumbent party, National Democratic Congress of conspiring with the EC to steal the elections for President John Mahama. They therefore, are praying the Court to set aside and nullify the EC’s results which declared President Mahama as winner of the presidential poll.

They want the court to annul 4,670,504 of the valid votes cast during the election at 11,916 polling stations where they claim a lot of anomalies occurred. Dr. Bawumia, claimed that the respondents were “afraid of the truth”.

“They were afraid to receive the truth”, he told the Supreme Court in response to a question from Mr. Quarshie-Idun which sought to indict him of duplicating election records in his analysis through which the petitioners arrived at the conclusion that the 2012 election results were rigged.

Dr. Bawumia said “It is not correct that there have been duplicates in my analysis”, and insisted that a reference to the soft-copy of the analysis on his CD-ROM will vindicate his repetitive assertion that though the election record sheets (pink sheets) were manually duplicated, none of them was used more than once in his analysis.

Dr. Bawumia’s answer was in relation to some electoral data from the Ashanti Region which were tendered in evidence by his Counsel to buttress their argument that there were widespread irregularities, violations, and omissions which led to the EC’s declaration of President Mahama, as winner of the 2012 presidential poll.

Dr. Bawumia has been under cross-examination since last week after he was led in evidence by his lead Counsel, Philip Addison. The case resumes on Monday.



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