Friday, January 11, 2013
Nana Akufo-Addo, others suit against presidential results - EC FILES DEFENCE
January 9, 2013 (Lead Story) The Electoral Commission (EC) has denied claims that the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the December 2012 elections, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo, won the elections. In its defence to a petition challenging the declaration of John Dramani Mahama as the winner of the December 2012 presidential election, the EC maintained that "the petition is without merit" and, accordingly, prayed the Supreme Court to "dismiss it". The EC also denied any irregularities and electoral malpractice, as well as working deliberately to unlawfully assist President Mahama to win the presidential poll and subsequently prayed the court to "order the petitioners to give particulars of the polling stations in which the violations, irregularities and malpractice are alleged to have occurred". Touching on the allegation of allowing voters to vote without verification, the EC urged the court to "order the petitioners to provide particulars of the polling stations in which voting without verification is alleged by them to have taken place". A petition to the Supreme Court, dated December 28, 2012, which had the presidential candIdate of the NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo; his running mate, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, and the Chairman of the NPP, Mr Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, as petitioners stated, among other things, that irregularities recorded at some polling stations favoured the National Democratic Congress (NDC). According to the petitioners, 24,000 of the pink results sheets from some polling stations indicated that those irregularities were enough to affect the outcome of the presidential election. Joined to the petition was the winner of the 2012 presidential poll, President Mahama, while the EC, which conducted the elections, was sued as an entity. President Mahama has entered appearance through his lawyers. In a statement of defence filed on behalf of the EC by Lynes Quashie-Idun and Co at 3: 15 p.m. on January 7, 2013, a few hours after the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, had sworn in Mr Mahama as President of Ghana, the EC denied the claims by the petitioners that it deliberately denied Nana Akufo-Addo victory. Responding to the petitioners' claim for the deduction of 1,342,845 votes from the total valid votes cast and the subsequent claim that those deductions were in favour of Nana Akufo-Addo, the statement urged the Supreme Court to "reject the proposed deductions, since neither the formula nor the justification for them has been presented by the petitioners; nor has any indication been given by the petitioners as to how the figures were arrived at". On allegations that the votes earned by Nana Akufo- Addo were "unlawfully reduced", while votes for President Mahama were "illegally padded" with the sole purpose of procuring victory for President Mahama, the statement replied by praying the court to "order the petitioners to provide particulars of the polling stations in which the alleged reduction and padding took place". It stated that the EC declined to halt the declaration of results on December 9, 2012 because the NPP hierarchy which had prayed it to halt the declaration in the presence of members of the National Peace Council had been provided with either inaccurate or wrong data by its polling agents. The statement prayed the Supreme Court to reject the petitioners' allegations, since they were based on wrong and inaccurate information. It, however, conceded that "the figure of 14,158,890 registered voters stated in the declaration of results was an error occasioned by picking the wrong figure. The number of registered voters which should have been picked was 14,031,793" and which was duly posted on the EC's website. "In this context, it is important to emphasise that this error has no bearing whatsoever on the total votes cast in the election and, consequently, the valid votes obtained by each candidate. The error would only affect the voter turnout percentage and change it from 79.43 per cent to 80.15 per cent," it explained. On the petitioners' claim of late submission of the voters register to the NPP, it denied that allegation and said "the NPP and the NDC, being the two parties with candidates in all constituencies in Ghana, were the first to receive the formal voters register from the EC as of November 21, 2012, one week after the Interparty Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting held on November 14, 2012". The statement denied the petitioners' claims that the total number of registered voters in the presidential election exceeded that of registered voters for the parliamentary election by 127,210 and held that the same register had been used for both the presidential and the parliamentary elections. It said in a mischievous attempt to buttress baseless accusations made to the media, the petitioners deliberately used an erroneous figure of 14,158,880, instead of 10,995,262, as the total number of votes cast in favour of the contesting presidential candidates, among others. The statement, accordingly, prayed the Supreme Court to dismiss the petitioners' allegations, since they were without merit.