June 5, 2013 (Lead Story)
The Chairman of the Electoral
Commission (EC), Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, on June 4, 2013 affirmed his
declaration of President John Dramani Mahama as the winner of the
December 7 and 8, 2012 presidential election and prayed the Supreme
Court to dismiss the petition challenging the declaration.
He, accordingly, asked the court to reject the
petitioners’ allegations of gross and widespread irregularities during
the presidential poll.
Asked by counsel for the EC, Mr James
Quashie-Idun, what he wanted the court to do, Dr Afari-Gyan said, “I
will say that the reliefs should not be granted because in the view of
the commission, no firm basis has occurred to merit the granting of
He began his evidence-in-chief on May 30, 2013 and took three days to complete.
with his evidence, the Returning Officer of the December 2012
presidential poll denied claims by the star witness of the petitioners,
Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, that polling agents were “mere” and/or “exalted”
observers during the election.
Averting his mind to Dr Bawumia’s
description of polling agents as mere and later exalted observers, Dr
Afari-Gyan indicated that there were local and foreign observers whose
role was just to observe and write a report at the end of the polls.
agents, he declared, played a crucial role in elections because they
signed pink sheets issued at polling stations and took copies for their
various political parties.
“Let us Take Responsibility”
EC Chairman informed the court that he had looked at some of the pink
sheets and admitted there were errors, but insisted that irregularities
with “built-in intention” must be separated from genuine errors, adding
that “a person perpetuating fraud knows what he has done”.
that mistakes could be detected and corrected, he said the EC was
prepared to take responsibility for those errors, adding, “We all make
mistakes in the course of our work.”
He said candidates in
elections “should take responsibility for the agents they appoint” and
admitted making a statement to the effect that persons who did not
undergo verification would not be allowed to vote.
insisted he made that statement on the grounding that each occurrence
must be looked at on its own merit because there were various scenarios.
the petitioners’ allegations of over-voting, Dr Afari-Gyan said the
classical definition of over-voting was either 150 per cent or 175 per
cent, as had been alleged in the past to have occurred in the Volta and
the Ashanti regions, respectively.
According to him, if such
incidents occurred, the EC would not hesitate to cancel the results
outright because those scenarios constituted a classical definition of
That, to him, was a clear example of the number of ballots cast exceeding the number of persons on the voters register.
also indicated that nowhere in Ghana had it been shown that a classical
definition of over-voting occurred, emphasising that “no place in Ghana
shows more people voted than the number of persons on the register”.
Dr Afari-Gyan nearing the ambit of his “lecture”, Mr Justice Jones
Dotse politely directed Mr Quashie-Idun to bring his client in tune with
courtroom procedures, to which counsel obliged.
Still speaking on
the issue of over-voting, Dr Afari-Gyan stated that if he noticed any
form of irregularity in the form of excess votes, he would subject that
pink sheet to close scrutiny and re-do what the presiding officer had
done before taking a decision.
Giving his reason, he said that was
because voters had the constitutional right to vote and it was,
therefore, important to carefully scrutinise pink sheets before taking a
No Signatures on Pink Sheets
to allegations of 2,009 pink sheets not having signatures of presiding
officers, Dr Afari-Gyan replied that the EC’s analysis indicated that
905 pink sheets had, indeed, not been signed by presiding officers,
representing a figure of 3.5 per cent.
According to him, that
meant 96 per cent of pink sheets had been signed by presiding officers,
adding, “We also noticed that 99 per cent of polling agents signed the
He stressed that nobody could have signed on behalf
of the presiding officer and explained that signing a pink sheet was
only one of the many roles of presiding officers during election.
cited some of the roles of presiding officers as supervising the
election all day, making entries on pink sheets, counting ballots in the
open and announcing results, adding that for that reason the EC
acknowledged why some of the pink sheets were not signed.
admitting that a presiding officer not signing a pink sheet constituted
an irregularity, Dr Afari-Gyan said that would not affect the validity
of the results, especially when polling agents signed the sheets.
on the allegations of two polling stations having two different pink
sheets with two different results, Dr Afari-Gyan explained that that
situation arose out of special voting.
He also stressed that
serial numbers did not have any significance on the declaration of
results, adding that the EC had demonstrated that the alleged 22 unknown
locations where voting was alleged to have taken place were all part of
the total 26,002 polling stations across the country.
Who Should Cross-examine First
spectacle ensued when three lawyers, namely, the lawyer for the
petitioners, Mr Philip Addison; counsel for President Mahama, Mr Tony
Lithur, and the lawyer for the NDC, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, passed the buck
and refused to be the first to cross-examine Dr Afari-Gyan after he had
completed his evidence-in-chief.
While Mr Lithur and Mr Tsikata
insisted Mr Addison did the cross-examination first before they could
come in, Mr Addison held a different view and quoted Section 75 of the
Evidence Act to support his case.
On realising none of the lawyers
was prepared to first cross-examine Dr Afari-Gyan, the court went into a
short recess and returned with a unanimous ruling directing Mr Lithur
and Mr Tsikata to complete cross-examining Dr Afari-Gyan before Mr
Addison did his.
Basing its decision on Section 69 of the Evidence
Act, the court held that that section gave the court the power to
exercise reasonable control over cross-examination to make a
presentation rapid and understanding, as well as protect a witness.
a practical example, the court said it wanted to avoid the situation
where Mr Quashie-Idun resorted to re-examining the General Secretary of
the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, instead of cross-examining him.
Mr Lithur Cross-examines Dr Afari-Gyan
cross-examination of the EC boss by Mr Lithur, Dr Afari-Gyan said he
did not receive any complaint of double voting, adding that the issues
of ballot stuffing and over-voting could not occur following the
introduction of the biometric voting system.
He said the EC did
not detect any fake stamps on the back of ballot papers, while his
outfit did not receive any report on the introduction of any foreign
material into ballots cast.
Dr Afari-Gyan was given 147 pink
sheets to study, but the court ended its session and urged parties to
continue sorting out, while the matter would be called today.
Pink Sheet Audit Brawl
presiding judge, Mr Justice William Atuguba, urged parties in the case
to remind the court to look into the misunderstanding between them on
the mode of the conduct of audit into pink sheets presented to the
Supreme Court Registry.
Four Polling Station Registers
the EC had tendered in evidence the registers of four polling stations
to rebut allegations of over-voting in some polling stations during the
December 7 and 8, 2012 presidential election.
Three of the
registers, which were allowed in evidence through separate rulings by
the Supreme Court, showed clear discrepancies on the number of
registered voters recorded on the pink sheets and the number of
registered voters as captured by the polling station registers.
instance, a pink sheet from the LA Dodi Primary School polling station
in the Eastern Region recorded 342 people as having been registered to
vote at that polling station, with 347 being the ballots cast at that
Per the record on that pink sheet, the
petitioners are alleging a case of over-voting, but Dr Afari-Gyan
tendered in evidence the polling station register at that polling
station which said 629 people had been registered to vote at that
Another register tendered in evidence to disprove
allegations of over-voting as captured by the pink sheet was that of
New Market Polling Station in the Kintampo North Constituency in the
Brong Ahafo Region.
The pink sheet from that polling station
indicated that 584 people were on the register, with 591 ballots being
cast there, thereby showing an excess vote of 9.
Quashie-Idun led Dr Afari-Gyan to tender as an exhibit the polling
station register for New Market Polling Station which indicated that 773
people, not 584, had been registered to vote.
A pink sheet from
the Temporary Booth Polling Station at Jenpini indicated that the number
of registered voters was 21, while the number of ballots cast stood at
67, but the register had 71 registered voters, not 21, as had been
indicated on the pink sheet.
Mr Quashie-Idun also directed his
witness to read out a pink sheet from PB Kwabena Akura Polling Station
in the Ashanti Region which had been given two separate exhibit numbers.
also sought to tender the register for PB Kwabena Akura Polling Station
to buttress the EC’s claim that the register, and not the pink sheet,
was its primary source of reference in the event of a discrepancy, but
Mr Philip Addison objected and indicated that the document was not part
of the EC’s case. He also argued that all reference must be made to the
Mr Addison held that there was no indication that the
register the EC was seeking to tender had been used at the polling
station during the election.
Counsel said that was because there
was no marking or ticking of names of persons who voted at that polling
station to indicate it was a genuine register.
In an 8-1 ruling, with Mr Justice Baffoe-Bonnie dissenting, the court overruled Mr Addison’s objection.
panel members who allowed the PB Kwabena Akura Polling Station register
to be tendered in evidence as an exhibit are Mr Justice Atuguba, Mr
Justice Julius Ansah, Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira, Ms Justice Rose
Owusu, Mr Justice Jones Dotse, Mr Justice Annin Yeboah, Mr Justice N. S.
Gbadegbe and Mrs Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo.
Information on PB Kwabena Akura Polling Station Register
The data captured on the polling station register for PB Kwabena Akura Polling Station said there were 12 registered voters.
pink sheet this time round corroborated the information on the register
by indicating there were 12 registered voters at that polling station,
with 12 people casting their ballots at that polling station.
Addison opposed the tendering of Temporary Booth Polling Station
register but the court, in another 8-1 majority decision, dismissed his
Mr Justice Baffoe-Bonnie disagreed with his colleagues.
Mr Addison’s objection, he accused the EC of resorting to ambush
litigation because it had not tendered in evidence the said registers
and had also failed to confront Dr Bawumia when he was testifying for
Counsel argued that the register was a new register prepared by the EC, but Mr Quashie-Idun vehemently opposed the allegation.
Mr Justice Gbadegbe then advised Mr Addison to confront the EC on those issues during his cross-examination.
December 9, 2012, Dr Afari-Gyan declared President Mahama winner of the
December 7 and 8, 2012 presidential poll with 50.70 per cent of the
valid votes cast, while the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic
Party (NPP), Nana Akufo-Addo, placed second with 47.7 per cent.
on December 28, 2012, Nana Akufo-Addo, his running mate, Dr Mahamadu
Bawumia, and the Chairman of the NPP, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, filed
the petition at the Supreme Court challenging the declaration of
President Mahama as the winner of the poll.
They are claiming that
Nana Akufo-Addo won the election by 59.69 per cent, while President
Mahama polled 39.1 per cent, but the request from Dr Afari-Gyan to the
Supreme Court is in contravention with the position of the petitioners.