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Live Texts: Bawumia mounts witness box to lead evidence
From: Ghana|Myjoyonline.com!Nathan Gadugah          Published On: April 17, 2013, 00:10 GMT
 
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Live Texts: Bawumia mounts witness box to lead evidence

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia


It is Day Two of the substantive hearing on the election petition. Petitioners are set to open their case.

Second petitioner Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has mounted the witness box to lead evidence.

Lead Counsel for the petitioners, Philip Addison gets ready to cross examine him.

Bawumia tells the court he is in the witness box today because the declaration made by the second respondent, Electoral Commission in the 2012 elections cannot be supported by the primary evidence he has gathered as the chairman of the committee tasked to investigate alleged irregularities in the 2012 elections.

He says as head of committee he received thousands of irregularities on statement of polls and declaration of results known as pink sheets.

“We found numerous malpractices and statutory violations and irregularities as evidenced in the primary record of the elections at the polling station called pink sheets."

It is the record on which basis the second respondent declared results for Mahama.

Philip Addison presents a copy of the pink sheet to the witness; Bawumia elaborates on the key ingredients on the pink sheets ie. statement of poll.

Philip Addison asks whether he found anything wrong with the pink sheets.

Bawumia says he examined around 24,000 pinks sheets and found so many irregularities and names over voting, voting without verification and other irregularities.

Philip Addison: Can you tell us what over voting is about?

Bawumia: Over voting is in two forms. Over voting will arrive if the total votes in the box exceeds the voters register at a particular polling station.

If the number of votes in the ballot is far in excess of the number of voters you have given ballot papers to.

The second type of over voting is what the EC chairman was very clear on before the elections. He quotes the EC chair as saying that if even one vote is seen to have exceeded the number of ballot papers issued, the results of the polling station will be annulled.

Bawumia decides to lead material evidence in the over voting he has been talking about.

Objection

Lawyer for the EC Quarshie-Idun raises an objection. He says material facts Bawumia is about to lead in evidence was not pleaded in the petition and therefore wishes the court to stop the witness from going into it.

Tony Lithur, Lawyer for the first respondent also supports the objection. He says the material facts of over voting cannot be sneaked in.

Lawyer for the NDC Tsatsu Tsikata, also concurs, saying this is elementary in law practice and should not be allowed.

Philip Addison disagrees. He says they have pleaded over voting and what they are about to do is to give an example of the over voting they are talking about.

Quarshie-Idun steps up again in a vehement objection. He says the court must not allow the witness to go into the material evidence. He admits the petitioners pleaded over voting but states emphatically that the petitioners did not call for an annulment of the said over votes in their petition.

"If they are going to give evidence of annulment, they should have pleaded so we can answer," he says.

Addison is up again. He accuses respondents of shifting goal post from issues about over voting and is now talking about the annulment of the results in polling stations where there is over voting.

He quotes portions of the petition which identifies over-voting as one of the irregularity and the request by the petitioners to have the results of polling stations with over votes annulled.

The court goes on recess and will return with a verdict whether or not to have the Witness, Dr Bawumia go into details with over votes.

Recess

Court returns after short recess and witness Bawumia is reminded of his oath.

Objection over ruled

Court overrules the objection by the respondents.

Bawumia goes ahead to give examples of the over-votes he had early on wanted to.

He says the votes in Upper West Akyem, Arabic Primary School polling stations as well as those in Tano North were annulled by the second respondent as a result of the over votes.

Addison seeks the judge’s permission to make reference to the affidavits sworn by Dr Bawumia.

The presiding judge Atuguba grants the request.

Over-voting

Philip Addison asks if the findings on over voting will have an effect on the results declared.

Bawumia answers that findings suggest that if the results of over-voting were annulled, none of the two leading candidates would have attained the mandatory 50+1 per cent of the total votes cast.

He therefore seeks the order of the court to annul the results in polling stations that had over votes.

Voting Without Verification

Philip Addison goes ahead to ask the witness what he means by voting without verification.

Bawumia answers that the second respondent prior to the 2012 elections promulgated a law which said all prospective voters had to be verified by the help of a biometric machine before voting. He goes ahead to say that the law stated emphatically that no prospective voter must vote without being verified.

He says after examination, over 535,723 people voted without verification.

Addison: Will the total results be affected if there is an annulment of the total votes in areas where there was voting without verification?

Bawumia answers yes. The results will be greatly affected if the results of voting without verification were to be annulled. He goes ahead to ask the court to annul all the results of the specific polling stations where there was voting without verification.

One of the presiding judges asks if the witness is asking the court to go ahead to annul the figures in all those polling stations merely because some people may have voted without verification.

Bawumia says yes. That was the law made by the Second respondent. He cites examples where the EC cancelled all the results in polling stations in some selected polling stations because some people engaged in voting without verification.

"The EC cannot apply one set of rules to one polling station and a different set of rules to another polling station," he says. He demands fairness and equity at all polling stations.

Pink sheets without presiding officers signature

Bawumia says there were 1039 polling stations which did not have the signatures of the presiding officers with the total votes amounting to 705, 305.

That he says is contrary to the law set out by the second respondent before the election.

He says if the votes are annulled none of the two leading candidates will secure first round victory.

Pink sheets with the same serial numbers

Bawumia says the pink sheets must have an exclusive serial number for each polling station. There must not be a situation where different polling stations share the same serial number but that was not the case in the 2012 elections. he says on the surface this anomaly might look innocuous but upon further examination it appears it was a vehicle used to alter the results in favour of the first respondent.

He says 9921 polling stations had the same serial numbers with the total number of votes in these polling stations amounting to 3,924,824.

Voting took place in 23 ‘ghost’ polling stations

The witness says they have evidence to show that voting went on in 23 polling stations whose records were unknown to the petitioners.

Objection
Live Texts: Bawumia mounts witness box to lead evidence

Lawyer for the president, Tony Lithur, objects to the mention of 23 polling stations. He avers that the witness in his affidavits mentioned only 22 and therefore could not lead evidence in 23 polling stations. He therefore asks the witness to stick to 22.

Lawyer for the EC agreed with the objection.

Addison insists the petitioners had provided evidence for 23 polling stations.

Lawyer for the NDC Tsatsu Tsikata asked the petitioners to present better and further particulars for the 23 polling stations if it is the case.

One of the judges asks the petitioners to stick to the 22 polling stations he had early on agreed to before Wednesday’s hearing.

Addision tells the court they have provided evidence for 23 polling stations but will not belabour the point. He agrees to go ahead to lead evidence in 22 polling stations.

Bawumia goes ahead to say that whilst results from these 'ghost' polling stations were insignificant, he insists it cannot and should not have happened.

Voters Register

Witness says the figures provided by the second respondent as total figure for the Voters Register kept changing. He says the Second respondent provided a total register of 14,301,680 before the election.

On the day the chairman of the second respondent declared the results of the election, he gave a figure of 14,158,890, a difference of 127,210 from the one they had early on provided. He says when they asked for explanation from the second respondent it said that initially the figure was 13,917366 but after registration of foreign voters the figure jumped to 14,158,890, a difference of 241,554.

He says they demanded the bio-data of the foreign voters from the second respondent and the data they received indicated “fake voter ID numbers” and a “mathematical formula” where same names had different numbers running through.

Polling Agents

Addison asks if there were polling agents of the NPP present at the various polling stations where these anomalies occurred and whether or not they signed the copies of the pink sheet to authenticate what had happened at the polling station.

Bawumia says polling agents were present at all the polling stations. Majority of them signed the pink sheets, others did not. He states however that the presence or absence of polling agents and whether or not they signed the pink sheets was no basis for the kind of irregularity and malpractices at the various polling stations.


Court goes on recess on the request by Philip Addison

The court comes back for recess but the Philip Addison prays the court to adjourn hearing a request Tsatsu Tsikata vehemently opposes.

Bawumia goes ahead with testimony.

Addison asks the witness if the second respondent stuck to its own rule that it will provide the various polling stations 10 per cent more of supplementary ballot papers on election day.

Bawumia says the EC, contrary to its own rules and its own affidavits, provided 98 per cent more of the ballot papers instead of the 10 per cent.

Addison goes further to ask the witness if it was meritorious for the second respondent to plead in its affidavits that polling agents were present and signed the pink sheets; votes were counted in public and therefore the petitioners had no business crying foul after the elections.

Bawumia responds “counting invalid votes in public does not make them valid.”

Bawumia goes ahead to cite an example in Savelugu in which the second respondent allegedly broke the rules of elections by asking presiding officers to come and sign copies of the pink sheets months after the elections had been held. He says under the EC's own laws all pink sheets had to be signed at the polling stations on the day of polls.

Counsel for the EC, Quarshie-Idun springs up on his feet, accuses the witness of being grossly out of order by introducing materials that had not been pleaded in evidence.

But Counsel for the petitioners Philip Addison maintains, issues about signing of pink sheets, when and where they were signed are relevant to the court. He quotes paragraph 17 of the second amended answer to the second amended petition where the second respondent admitted that signings went on after voting had taken place.

Judge asks the witness to limit his comments to evidence that has been pleaded before the court.

Hearing has been adjourned to tomorrow.


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