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17TH To 17TH – A Timeline On The Election Petition (II)


17TH To 17TH – A Timeline On The Election Petition (II)

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This is the second in a three part series on the events in the Presidential Election Petition Hearings as observed by the writer.

April 17th - You and I were not there

And so exactly a month after March 17th when his life was saved by Allah, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia took the witness stand in the landmark case as the star witness for the petitioners. He had been tasked to present and defend the case of the petitioners before the nine justices and a nation of 25 million who had all rightfully become judges and legal luminaries in their own right overnight.

So Dr. Bawumia was in the witness box. He explained generally why the petitioners were in court and for the first time presented to the nation the full unadulterated case of the petitioners. And made a compelling case for why the Pink Sheets, which are the primary records of the election, must ultimately be relied upon in determining the two vital issues at stake.

Pink Sheets have reigned ever since.

On over-voting, he stated the two basic definitions: (1) where the ballot papers in the ballot box were more than the registered voters at the particular polling station and (2) where the ballot papers in the ballot box were more than the number of people who were issued ballots after voting ends.

He noted the importance of the ballot accounting section on the Pink Sheet and the need for it to be religiously filled at the defined times according to the laws of the EC so as to protect the integrity of the process and noted that irregularities are evident if they are left blank or when they are inconsistent with the other records on other sections of the form.

On voting without biometric verification, he stated very clearly the law as contained in C.I 75 which required everyone to vote only after being properly verified by the biometric device and the general consensus of all parties involved in the election to follow the law strictly. Till then, a lot of noise had been made on radio quoting all sorts of authorities and some even denying that biometric verification was mandatory per the law. Luckily, that noise was kept out of the court as all the witnesses who later took the stand agreed that verification was mandatory.

Dr. Bawumia informed us of the critical C3 section, which the EC had apparently placed on the pink sheet to allow some voters with ID cards to vote without biometric verification and which ended up exposing the number of people in over 2,000 polling stations who were allowed to vote without being verified.

Then he revealed probably for the first time, the fact that the EC had annulled a number of polling stations on December 7th as a result of over voting and voting without biometric verification.

Interestingly, the EC confessed that it was not aware of these annulments and that it took the petitioners to inform them almost 5 months after the Election.

He stated the case for annulling votes recorded on pink sheets which had not been authenticated by the Presiding officers, in clear breach of Article 49 of the 1992 4th Republican constitution, and how that violation easily compromises the integrity of the poll.

He touched on Duplicate Serial numbers and explained to the court how the phenomenon of same pink sheet serial numbers became so widespread in the election and how that compromised the integrity of the election and the results. He identified serial numbers as the critical identifiers of the pink sheet which was the only identifier to come pre-embossed and how duplicates made it possible to compromise the results.

And then we got to know how duplicate serial numbers were closely and very highly linked to the three other irregularities and how that was the vehicle in which all the other irregularities were carried to their final destination of affecting the outcome of the poll.

Finally, the voters’ register was brought under the spotlight and the many issues with our first biometric register on which we spent hundreds of millions of Ghana cedis were brought to the fore.


Then followed cross examination on the 18th April. First was Tony Lithur, counsel for the declared winner of the December Election, John Mahama.

He lasted three days. Mainly concentrating on clear mislabelling and duplication of exhibits and introducing his own unique brand of justifications which he called “administrative errors” to justify the irregularities evidenced on the face of the pink sheets.

Towing the same line was James Quarshie - Idun, the ECs lawyer who spent less than three days. He concentrated on the election process and also introduced his brand of errors, the long grain “clerical and trans-positional errors” to justify the evidence on the face of the pink sheets.

And then the well acclaimed NDC legal Maradona, Messi and Pele all rolled into one, Tsatsu Tsikata, took the floor and rendered a cross examination which seemed unending and which rekindled the dreams of many that the trial would last for at least a decade or worse before a determination.

In cross examination did phrases like “you and I were not there”, “the evidence is on the face of the pink sheet”, “the errors should not affect somebody’s presidency”, “it doesn’t affect the analysis” etc. originate.

In cross examination, the main witness of the petitioners who grew more comfortable after each day in the box defended the claims of the petitioners steadfastly.

On over voting, he used the cross examination to show the judges and the nation how important the ballot accounting section was and exposed to the world how some over voting had been hidden in the total number of votes in the ballot box but how summing up the various votes accredited to the candidates, which eventually went into the declaration, exposed the over voting. To do this, he had to rely on the generous help of the counsels for the respondents especially Tony Lithur and Tsatsu Tsikata who presented various pink sheets which ostensibly had no over voting but which actually did, only that it was hidden to the eyes of the lawyers.

On voting without biometric verification, he defended why it was important for the law to be followed in all polling stations and why the records contained in section C3 were the true indicators of the number of people who voted without verification.

Variously, lawyers of the respondents sought to suggest that there were exceptions to the law and cited our brothers and sisters with no fingers or those whose fingerprints could not be captured as a result of what the EC called temporary trauma and who were all classified as “Face Only (FO) voters” as examples of such exceptions. But Dr Bawumia who had demonstrated high knowledge of the electoral system disagreed and stated also severally that even the FOs were known to the biometric machine and were verified automatically by the machine, something which was later confirmed by the Electoral Commission’s Boss.

While the respondents tried to push forcefully the point that polling agents were principal actors in the elections and had actually certified the results of the elections, the petitioners’ witness insisted that they were exalted observers and that what they did was only to attest to the record on the pink sheets, some of which included the evidence of various irregularities.

May 7th

I have to dedicate a paragraph or at least a line for May 7th. May 7th was an interesting day in court. His highly esteemed Tsatsu ‘Maradona’ Tsikata who had spent days arguing against the case of the petitioners and trying to punch pinholes into their argument, suddenly sprang up new pink sheets from strongholds of the petitioners. His point was simple. The petitioners were hypocrites - all the irregularities they were making ‘ugly’ noises about also occurred in the strongholds of the petitioners.

For the petitioners, this had settled completely the first issue for determination (i.e. whether there were irregularities) as the respondents by their action had accepted the case of irregularities and even proceeded to attempt to back their new stance with evidence. As smart and witty as he continued to be in the witness box, Dr. Bawumia gladly urged the NDC to apply and become co-petitioners in the case as they were now on the same page as the original petitioners.

But generally compared to the energy and time spent on mislabelling and duplications in the exhibits filed by the petitioners, the respondents spent much, much less energy and very, very little time challenging the real substance of the case presented by the petitioners.

We remember a profusely sweating lawyer who was cross examining a calm witness, the tendering of letters supposedly delivered before they were written and the evidence of serious arithmetic challenges on the part of the legal Maradona who was obviously a mathematical Tahiti bench warmer plus a lot more.

May 16 - Criminality

Mr. Tsikata’s cross examination which went on and on effectively ended on May 16th. But unwilling to leave the stage yet, he conjured two more days on tendering various lists on duplications and few other over flogged issues.

But before May 16th was May 9th – the remembrance of the 127 lives that perished at the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium on the day over a decade ago. But in the Supreme Court, this was also the day a decision was finally made to order an audit of the pink sheets filed and KPMG was tasked with this job.

Exactly a week later on May 16th, another very important ruling was made by the court which went a long way to bringing finality to case.

The Court ruled against the respondents to prevent calling new witnesses of the petitioners, about 5 in all. According to Justice William Atuguba, the court already had enough evidence on which it could effectively make a determination.

With this ruling, it meant that after Dr. Bawumia, there were only two more witnesses left for the hearings to end.

Also, KPMG began its work on May 16th with a preparatory inspection of the exhibits in the custody of the registry, in the company of the representatives of all the parties in the case.

However, another twist which obviously needs to be here is how the respondents threatened to boycott a count they had asked for and how the respondents angrily stormed into court alleging that, by some grand conspiracy, the National Security and Police officers who had for some weeks provided 24 hour round the clock security, had over slept and allowed some unscrupulous beings to breach also the CCTV surveillance and sneak in with over 7 large boxes of pink sheets.

Their evidence was the fact that an inventory taken by KPMG on Thursday May 16th showed that the boxes in the custody of the registry totalled 24 but that by this grand scheme, the boxes had inflated to 31.

Allegations of criminality were thrown about everywhere but really that was all it was, hot air. KPMG later confirmed both outside and in court that it had not taken any such inventory. From all indications, the boxes only increased in the imaginations of some people.

Dr. Bawumia’s time in the box finally ended on May 22nd when he was re-examined by lead Counsel for the petitioners, Philip Addison.

To be continued ...............

Source: Boadu Kwabena



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