NDC, EC Run Away from Audit of Votes


NDC, EC Run Away from Audit of Votes

23 April 2013

Counsels for the three respondents in the election petition challenging the result of the 2012 presidential election yesterday vehemently opposed a request by counsel for the petitioners to extend an audit they had proposed to be conducted on the number of pink sheets filed as exhibit at the court to include an audit of the number of alleged invalid votes in contention.



Counsels for John Dramani Mahama, the National Democratic Congress and the Electoral Commissioner were only ‘saved’ by a ruling of the Supreme Court rejecting the application for the audit made by counsel for the first respondent, Tony Lithur.

The court rejected the application that had been supported by counsels for the second and third respondents, the Electoral Commission and the National Democratic Congress respectively, on the basis that a recount of the pink sheets would not affect the case for now.

Tony Lithur, counsel for John Dramani Mahama, had told the court they had only been served with only 8,621 of the pink sheets.

Lead counsel for the petitioners, Philip Addison, however, argued that an audit of the pink sheets would not be as necessary as the audit of the votes, adding that they had submitted a CD-ROM which would show that none of the pink sheets had been duplicated in the analysis of the votes.

“We are also of the view that there should be an audit of the polling station and the votes. For us what is important is the number of votes, not so much the number of polling stations,” Mr Addison requested further. His request for an audit of the votes was, however, vehemently opposed by the respondents.

Giving the ruling of the court, the president of the panel of judges, Justice William Atuguba, said the court was in a difficulty seeing a manifestation of problem, adding that once the counsel for first respondent had said they had done their own checks to arrive at a pink sheet number of 8,621, the numbers should not be a problem for them.

While under cross-examination, Dr Bawumia told the court that even if total votes of 6000 were taken out of the votes the petitioners were seeking to be annulled, the first petitioner would still win by over 51% of the valid votes.

Appearing doubtful, Tony Lithur, counsel for the first respondent, indicated to the nine-member panel that an audit into the number of pink sheets submitted to the court by the petitioners was necessary since the number of pink sheets provided by petitioners was not up to the 11, 038 they had made reference to in affidavit sworn to by their witness.

This did not go down well with lead counsel for the petitioners, Philip Addison, who explained that they first furnished the respondents with ‘better and further particulars’ of 11,842 pink sheets as directed by the court and subsequently reduced it to 11, 038.

But lead counsel for first respondent, Tony Lithur, still insisted the court should order an audit of the number of pink sheets, a suggestion which was supported by second and third respondents.

Mr Addison who welcomed the audit, however, asked for an extension of the audit to cover the number of votes affected by alleged malpractices, irregularities, as well as statutory and constitutional violations. This was opposed by counsels for the respondents, who insisted on audit of only the pink sheets.

After recess, the Presiding judge, Justice William Atuguba, explained that the court had noticed from the joint affidavit filed by the NDC and John Mahama that the total number of pink sheets is 8,620 and not the 11, 032 as claimed by the petitioners.

He added that what that meant was that the actual number of pink sheets would be ascertained in the course of the trial, adding that he therefore found it difficult to understand the problem that posed to the respondents.

By Nana Yaw Dwamena

Source: thestatesmanonline



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