Friday, May 24, 2013

Auditing of pink sheets - IT'S FREE - KPMG tells court

 May 16, 2013 (Lead Story)

The international accounting firm, KPMG, which has been appointed by the Supreme Court to conduct an audit of pink sheets, has agreed to conduct the exercise for free.
Mr Justice William Atuguba, the presiding judge of the nine-member Supreme Court hearing the election petition challenging the legitimacy of President John Dramani Mahama, officially announced the position of KPMG at the court’s sitting in Accra yesterday.
Some officials of the audit firm were present in court and were acknowledged by the presiding judge.
Although KPMG did not make public how much it would have charged for the exercise, some industry analysts put it around $100,000.
The announcement, therefore, puts to rest the numerous speculations on the amount and whether or not the parties in the dispute would have had the financial wherewithal to foot the bill.
Parties in the petition and the audience in the courtroom received the news with loud applause.
Consequently, the Registrar of the Supreme Court has invited representatives of the petitioners and the respondents to a short meeting on the Supreme Court premises in Accra today.
At the meeting, final modalities are expected to be laid down for the conduct of the audit of the pink sheets.
A former Deputy Attorney-General and leader of the petitioners’ legal team, Ms Gloria Akuffo, and a member of the NDC’s Legal and Communications Team, Nana Ato Dadzie, confirmed the scheduled meeting to the Daily Graphic yesterday.
Pink Sheets Controversy
The issue of the actual number of pink sheets submitted by the petitioners to the court and the parties has been in controversy since last week.
While lawyers for the petitioners insist they provided 11,842 pink sheets from polling stations where alleged gross and widespread electoral malpractices took place during the December 7 and 8, 2012 presidential election, the respondents’ legal teams contend they received less than that number.
The petitioners have since the beginning of the hearing deleted 704 pink sheets and are currently relying on 11,138 pink sheets in their final analysis.
Counsel for the President, Mr Tony Lithur, for instance, argues that he received 8,579 pink sheets, while counsel for the NDC, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, says his client had taken custody of 8,000 pink sheets served on it by officials of the court.
The EC, for its part, has not come out clearly on the number of pink sheets it has received, but its lawyer, Mr James Quashie-Idun, has also informed the court that his client has received less than 11,842 pink sheets.
Following the tenacious disagreement among the parties on the actual number of pink sheets submitted, the court, on May 9, 2013, in consultation with parties in the case, ordered that an audit be conducted of the pink sheets.
KPMG will conduct the audit, in the presence of representatives of the parties in the case.
It will then submit the final report to the court after the completion of the audit.
The hearing of the substantive petition, which has the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; his running mate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, and the Chairman of the NPP, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, as petitioners, began on April 17, 2013.
Dr Bawumia, who is the star witness for the petitioners, has since been led by Mr Philip Addison to complete his evidence-in-chief. He has been cross-examined by the lawyers for the President, Mr Tony Lithur, and Mr Quashie-Idun.
He is currently undergoing cross-examination by Mr Tsikata, who maintains that Dr Bawumia duplicated pink sheets to deceive the court.
However, Dr Bawumia denies that assertion and argues that nowhere did the petitioners duplicate pink sheets in the final analysis on the alleged widespread and gross irregularities in the December 2012 presidential election, which is on a CD-Rom.
Mr Tsikata, who has been cross-examining Dr Bawumia for the past 10 days, is expected to enter day 11 of his cross-examination today.
The court is also expected to rule on whether or not to permit Mr Tsikata to cross-examine witnesses of the petitioners who have given their evidence in the form of sworn affidavits.
The Petition
The petitioners have alleged that the December 7 and 8, 2012 presidential election was fraught with malpractices of over-voting, non-signing of pink sheets by presiding officers or their assistants, voting without biometric verification and duplicated serial numbers of pink sheets.
However, President Mahama, the EC and the NDC have denied that any such irregularities occurred during the election.

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