Sunday, July 28, 2013

Petitioners confront Afari-Gyan with unsigned pink sheets

 July 11, 2013 (Page 60)

LAWYERS for the petitioners in the presidential election petition yesterday confronted the Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, with lists of unsigned pink sheets, duplicated voters register and some polling stations with same names and codes, as well as having duplicate pink sheets.
Dr Afari-Gyan admitted the infractions as pertaining on the documents handed to him by the lawyers but had explanations for some.
He was also taken through 18 duplications in a list of 905 polling stations the EC had prepared as having pink sheets without signatures of presiding officers.
In his response to the list of 18 as put to him by the lead counsel for the petitioners, Mr Philip Addison, the witness said, “I have not done the count but I wil take it.”
The witness, however, stated that with respect to same polling stations having two different pink sheets, the EC could ascertain what actually went wrong after studying the collation sheets containing those pink sheets.
Mr Addison brought out 12 lists containing 371 pink sheets which, he said, were not signed by presiding officers and stated that those pink sheets were not part of the 905 the EC had stated in its defence that they were not signed by presiding officers.
Dr Afari-Gyan explained that he had earlier told the court that some pink sheets that were not signed at polling stations were signed by presiding officers at collation centres at the instance of returning officers.
According to the witness, the list of 371 pink sheets was part of the pink sheets that were signed at collation centres, but Mr Addison disagreed with him and wondered where the caveat was coming from.
One of the judges, Mr Justice Jones Dotse, told Mr Addison that from Dr Afari-Gyan’s explanation, it might have been the case that some polling agents left the polling stations with unsigned pink sheets.
But Mr Addison said the case of the petitioners was that more than 905 pink sheets were not signed by presiding officers and informed the court that the petitioners were ready to bring the unsigned pink sheets to court to prove their case.
Counsel for the EC, Mr James Quashie-Idun, said some of the pink sheets were not relevant to the issue of non-signatures because they were already in evidence.

Issue of 553 unsigned pink sheets
Mr Addison averted Dr Afari-Gyan’s mind to earlier 553 unsigned pink sheets which he had been confronted with in earlier proceedings and stated that those pink sheets were not part of the 905 pink sheets, but the witness answered that he could not confirm unless he saw those pink sheets.
Counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, told the court that the claim of signed or unsigned pink sheets was already before the court and for that matter that issue could be reserved for the address stage.
Mr Addison disagreed with Mr Tsikata and argued that the foundation the petitioners sought to lay bordered on the credibility of the witness.
The witness had earlier stated that he could not “carry” a list of 905 polling stations in his head unless he physically checked, but Mr Justice N. S. Gbadegbe and Mrs Justice Akoto-Bamfo advised him to use appropriate language in addressing the court.
Dr Afari-Gyan then responded, “With all due respect, I cannot remember all 905 names.”

Duplicated Codes
Mr Addison took Dr Afari-Gyan through the list of 905 polling stations with unsigned pink sheets and it emerged that 18 polling station codes had been duplicated.
Counsel for the petitioners then told the court that interestingly the respondents did not discover the pattern of duplicates in the 905 polling stations but were quick to discover discrepancies in the list provided by the petitioners.
Mr Tsikata objected to that on the grounds that the NDC had completed its cross-examination of the witness and demanded that Mr Addison’s insinuation be withdrawn.
Mr Addison obliged, withdrew the comment and said he made the comment in “jest”, to which Mr Justice William Atuguba stated, “We are making a headway.”

Finger of God Church Polling Station
The witness was shown three pink sheets with the same polling station code from the Finger of God Polling Station at Kubekrom in Accra.
Dr Afari-Gyan admitted that the three pink sheets bore the same name with the same polling station code but explained that one of them had not been signed by a presiding officer.
He said one of the pink sheets did not have the signature of a presiding officer and did not contain names of polling agents.
The witness disagreed with Mr Addison’s suggestion that two of the pink sheets had the same presiding officer.

Gladys Koranteng Polling Station
In what appeared to be odd, the space provided for the “name of polling station” for one of the Finger of God Polling Station had been filled with “Gladys Koranteng”.
Dr Afari-Gyan pulled out collation sheets to cross-check how information on the Finger of God Polling Station pink sheets had been entered, but Mr Addison indicated that the petitioners would call for all the 275 collation sheets if the court allowed Dr Afari-Gyan to make reference to them.
The court returned after a short break and struck out evidence led on the collation sheet which had information on the Finger of God Polling Station.

How do we know the results are not in the Collation Sheet?
Mr Justice Dotse asked the witness how one could tell if the results on the three pink sheets had not been entered in the constituency results, to which the witness answered, “It can be known from the collation form.”
Afterwards, Mr Addison suggested to the witness that the results on the three pink sheets from the Finger of God Polling Station went into the declaration, but Dr Afari-Gyan replied, “Only two went into the results as indicated by the collation sheet.”
Mr Addison told the witness that several pink sheets were not properly executed but the witness disagreed.
Counsel asked the witness why one polling station had two pink sheets, but Dr Afari-Gyan said, “No polling station should have two pink sheets. Every polling station has one result.”
He further explained that it was only on occasions that polling stations were split into A and B that such situations arose.
Mr Addison, however, held a different view.

Double Registration
Some instances of double registration in the voters register for the LA Primary School in the Adaklu Constituency and the EP Primary School Polling Station in the Afadjato Constituency in the Volta Region were shown to the witness.
On page 45 of the Adaklu Register, there was an instance of one person engaging in double registration. That person had two different voter identity cards.
Responding to that, the witness said, “If it is double registration, the identities will be different.”
In the Afadjato Register, it came up that pages 16 and 25 of the register had an instance of double registration, but Dr Afari-Gyan told the court that there was a difference because page 16 was a “Face Only” voter, while page 25 was not a “Face Only” voter.
“It may or may not be the same person. The only way is to establish personal contact to remove the person,” he said, and added that the name, age and sex of the voter were the same and further intimated that they could be twins or not twins.
The two registers containing double registration were tendered without objection from the respondents.

Biometric Register and Double Registration
Mr Addison said in spite of the biometric register, a person could register twice, but Dr Afari-Gyan said that could be discovered.
Mr Addison gave Dr Afari-Gyan a list which contained extracts of double registration in the register for the MA Primary School in the Mampong Constituency, but the witness said he would prefer to have a look at the real register.
Counsel then suggested to the witness to cross-check the extracts with the register and return with it at the next hearing, but Mr Quashie-Idun said no foundation had been laid for the tendering of the extract.
Mr Justice Sophia Adinyira then responded, “He is not tendering it.”

We will not object to “P” Series exhibit
Mr Addison told the court a list on “P” series (polling stations with duplicate serial numbers) had to be withdrawn for correction because there were some errors, but Mr Tsikata said his side was fed up with having to cross-check the list to point out any errors.
He said his side would not object to any document that was tendered on the “P” series on the  grounds that he would leave his comments to the address.
After a few minutes of argument between Mr Addison and Mr Tsikata on the issue, the court ended its session for the day.
Mr Addison said his side was almost set with a list of 1,545 pink sheets that the court had granted permission to the petitioners to cross-examine Dr Afari-Gyan on.
The international audit firm, KPMG, left out the 1,545 pink sheets in its final analysis with the reason that the polling station names, codes and or exhibit numbers were not eligible.
But the court has given the petitioners the chance to cross-examine on the said pink sheets after they said they had been able to identify the said pink sheets by  name, polling station code and or exhibit number.
Hearing continues today.

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