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Afari-Gyan Cornered; Admits Double Registration, Over Voting


Photo ReportingAfari-Gyan Cornered; Admits Double Registration, Over Voting

Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, was yesterday put in a tight corner when he was forced to once again revise his definition for over-voting.

Dr Afari-Gyan conceded that over voting goes beyond his classical definition saying that over voting could also occur if the votes were more that the number of voter turnout in a particular polling station.

The EC boss had explained what he called ‘classical definition’ of over voting to mean that when the votes at a polling station exceeded the total number of registered voters in that particular polling station.

The petitioners’ lead counsel, Philip Addison, was able to push the veteran election administrator to admit that over-voting, which the petitioners are claiming as an irregularity, also included a situation where the number of ballots in the box were more than ballots issued to voters at a particular polling station.

Counsel: I am saying that over-vote is based on the number of ballots issued and the total votes found in the ballot box, do you agree?

Witness: Yes, ultimately…Yes.

Counsel: Thank you

The EC Chairman, before the December 2012 general elections, is on record to have defined over-voting as a situation where ballots in the box are more than ballots issued to voters at a particular polling station but during his examination-in-chief gave his so-called classical definition for over-voting.

He then quickly changed his long held definition by defining over-voting as a situation where the number of votes cast exceeds the number of registered voters and said he was relying on that one.

The contradictory definitions played out when he admitted he was confused about defining over-voting.

“I think I am not too clear in my own mind what the connotation of over-vote is,” Dr. Afari-Gyan had told the court on Tuesday to the bewilderment of the audience at the ongoing Presidential Election Petition.

Photo ReportingCoincidentally, his ‘classic’ definition of over-voting had been given by the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) witness, Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, while the situation of over-voting occurring when the number of votes cast exceeds the number of ballots issued to voters was given by the petitioners through Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.

Before admitting the latest definition, Dr. Afari-Gyan had tried to maintain his stance on the classical definition when Mr. Addison handed him a pink sheet from a particular station in the Upper West Region.

Counsel: Now, can you tell the court what you have in your hand?

Witness: I have… (He reads the exhibit number, polling station name and code)

Counsel: Now can you tell the court what is in A1 (column indicating the number of ballots issued to the polling station)

Witness: A1 is 100…

Counsel: And what is B1 [Number of voters eligible to vote from the polling station]

Witness: 21

Counsel: Now, can you tell the court, the total votes in the ballot box?

Witness: 67

Counsel: So you would agree that there is a clear over-vote here?

Witness: Once again, my lords, Ehrr…no. Fortunately, we have the register here and that indicate that the 21 in B (column indicating eligible voters in that polling station) is wrong.

Counsel: I’m sorry?

Witness: The 21 in B1, if the register confirms that the number of people in the polling station register is 21, and assuming that the form has been correctly executed, then 67 would be an over-vote.

Counsel: Dr. Afari-Gyan, I’m asking you questions based on the pink sheet and you are drawing deductions from it. Did you see this pink sheet before you declared the results?

Witness: No, I don’t.

Counsel: So let’s limit ourselves to what is on the face of the pink sheet… (Justice Atuguba intervenes)

Justice Atuguba: I thought you said the register showed a different number?

Witness: Yes my lord.

Justice Atuguba: What figure?

Witness: Maybe I will refer to the register and see what it says… (He quickly referred to the register allegedly used for the polling station). My lords the register…gives the number of registered voters as 71.

Counsel: Dr. Afari-Gyan, I thought we have dealt with these registers, and you have accepted that these were not the registers used at the polling stations.

Witness: But the registers used at the polling station my lords, would not be different from the registers that we have here.

Counsel: No, you cannot be sure, this is not the register, we have gone through that, so you cannot make reference to it to support your case.

Witness: My lords, I disagree that we have gone through that, in saying that the registers used at the polling stations would be the same registers as this.

Gazetted Figures

Counsel: Did you make reference to the registers used for the election before you made the declaration?

Witness: The declaration of election result… (Counsel interrupts)

Counsel: Please answer the question; did you make reference to the register before you made the declaration?

Witness: My lords, yes in the sense that the total number of persons that were entitled to vote is recorded in that declaration.

Counsel: The total number? What was the total number?

Witness: The total number was 14, 0 31,680, that was the total number on the register.

Counsel: We are talking here about a polling station and I have already shown you an analysis which shows clearly that the number of registered persons on these polling stations far exceed the number of registered persons you handed over to the New Patriotic Party.

Witness: My lord, that cannot be correct.

Counsel: Furthermore, the total number of registered voters that you gazetted for the Parliamentary election is different from the one you did for the Presidential.

Witness: That cannot be correct my lords.

Counsel: Now, the gazetted number for the Parliamentary elections was 14,031,680 and when you made the declaration for the Presidential, the figure you used was 14, 158,890, am I right?

Witness: We have already explained… (Counsel cuts in sharply)

Counsel: Did you use that figure? (Witness tries to explain, but counsel wanted a straightforward answer) Please answer the question.

Witness: Yes, but it was in error.

Counsel: It was in error?

Witness: Yes, it was in error?

Counsel: So everything was in error in this election?

Witness: (Laughs uneasily)… My lords, I don’t see how anybody can come to that conclusion.

Counsel: I see. We are on the pink sheet you are holding; I said that there is an over-vote there?

Witness: I’m saying that based on the number of people on the register, there isn’t an over-vote.

Counsel: It is based on the number of ballots issued, not on the number on the register.

Double Registration

Photo ReportingMr. Addison was also able to force Dr. Afari-Gyan to concede that the voters register which in his examination-in-chief claimed did not have instances of double registration indeed contained the anomaly.

However, in both his evidence-in-chief and cross-examination earlier, Dr. Afari-Gyan had vehemently denied that there could be any instance of double registration occurring in the 2012 biometric register but counsel was able to prove to him that the foreign registration was replete with duplications.

About 50 double registration was counted.

Counsel: Dr. Afari-Gyan did you personally check this list, have you checked this list? (Asking the witness about a list of 51 duplicated Ghanaian voters registered abroad)

Witness: Yes I have.

Counsel: So can you tell the court your finding after going through this list.

Witness: My lords, I have two observations to make: The first two persons on the list are not one and the same person. They are Abdulai Inusah Jamil and Abdulai Inusah Jamila. They are twins, male and female, they are dependants of a staff of the Ghana mission in New York, so they are separate people. Apart from that, the rest, the analyses confirm them to be duplicates. That is the first observation I want to make. The second observation is that in every instance of a duplicated name, the person has been placed in the same polling station. Under our system, this would mean that the person cannot vote two times.

Counsel: …Dr. Afari-Gyan these registrations are in the final register?

Witness: Yes they are.

Counsel: And if you look at the list that you have, these names are placed far apart in the register.

Witness: My lord, in the list, they may be far apart, but in each instance, the duplicated name is in the same polling station.

Counsel: Now, the voter IDs are different

Witness: My lords, yes.

Counsel: So each of those voter IDs could be used to vote?

Witness: Under our system, at the same polling station, my lord, this cannot be so because even though the voter ID cards may be different, the biometric information would be the same.

Counsel: They could vote without going through biometric verification.

Witness: My lord, they prescribed mode of voting is to go through biometric verification.

Counsel: When you gave us an instance where a local chief can vote without verification, in the instance where any of these are known in the polling station, they can vote without verification?

Witness: I talked about well known persons whose identities would not be in doubt.

Counsel: Now, Dr. Afari-Gyan, we are talking here in respect of 705 registrations, and there are 50 double registrations?

Witness: Yes my lord.

Counsel: That is about 7 per cent of the 705

Witness: You are correct.

Counsel: Now, who undertook these registrations; was it temporary workers of the EC or permanent workers of the EC.

Witness: It was a team made up of officials of the EC….

Counsel: Temporary or permanent?

Witness: Permanent.

Counsel: They went abroad to register Ghanaians, they registered 705 and managed to have 50 double registrations. Was the registration a biometric registration?

Witness: My lords, yes, it was a biometric registration.

Counsel: So these people were registered in the same location, I presume?

Witness: No, the foreign registrations took place in 28 locations.

Counsel: Now, these double registrations obviously took place in the same location?

Witness: If it’s Dubai, then Dubai…yes, different locations but in each instance, it was at the same location.

Counsel: And a biometric registration in the same location resulted in double registration?

Witness: My lords, yes, if I may explain…during the main registration, we experienced thousands….

Counsel: Doctor, can you please answer the question then you can explain.

Witness: I said yes… (Justice Atuguba interrupts)

Justice Atuguba: To solve the problem, you answer his question directly, if there is a relevant explanation, and then it follows after the direct answer….

Witness: …You see, if your picture is taken during the registration for example, and you don’t want the picture, if the registration officer does not edit the first picture taken, but take another picture, then it would come as double registration. There were many instances during the main registration where it occurred.

Counsel: Dr Afari-Gyan, if we are to go by the reason you have given, it means the national register is in fact bloated by 50 per cent.

Witness: Not at all, my lords. Again, if I may explain: We have a process we go through to eliminate the multiple registrations, in fact in the main exercise, we eliminated about 8,000 multiple registrations after going through that process. We call it a process of de-duplication….

Counsel: Dr. Afari-Gyan, you can say that now because we are dealing with only 705 registrations which, however, is part of the national register.

Witness: My lord, I have admitted that

Counsel: Now, most of these foreign registrations, voting were done by proxies?

Witness: My lords, I couldn’t say…I cannot tell you who were here and who were not here…

Counsel: So that in the event they voted by proxy, the explanation you have offered would not prevail?

Witness: They would.

Counsel: Different people can come by proxy with two different IDs and they would be allowed to vote…Do you agree that different people can come with different IDs and vote by proxy…?

Witness: Possible if the pictures occur two times.

Counsel: So it’s possible?

Witness: If the pictures occur two times, it is possible.

Omanhene Scenario

Mr. Addison asked Dr. Afari-Gyan to show the court where in the instance of a chief being allowed to vote without biometric verification would be recorded and the commissioner after initially saying “it will not be recorded anywhere,” changed his story to “it will be recorded to be among the people who have voted.”

Counsel then sought to know if there was a place on the pink sheet where that information would be recorded and Dr Afari-Gyan said “the C1 will be the place where that information will be recorded.”

Counsel: What C1 says?

Witness: what is the number of ballot issued to voters on the voters Register?

Mr. Addison then suggested to the witness that if a chief is not verified by the machine before voting that information will be entered in C3 but Dr Afari-Gyan said “No”

Counsel asked the witness to read the instruction in C3 and he said it was voters who were identified but not with the verification machine.

Then Mr. Addison said “But the Omanhene was not verified by the BVD and so the information should be recorded in C3 to which Dr. Afari-Gyan disagreed.

Daily Printouts & Exhibition

Dr. Afari-Gyan said to the extent possible daily printouts were issued to the political parties and added that if the machines developed faults at some point, it meant the printout for the day could not be given.

Dr. Afari-Gyan also told the court that, if nothing had gone wrong with the machine the EC itself was supposed to have daily printouts of the registration exercise.

Initially, Dr. Afari-Gyan told the court that he did not know if the NPP got the EC’s provisional register but after further probe by counsel, he said “no party was given the provisional register.”

He said the register was exhibited for every voter to ensure his or her particulars were correctly captured and added “it was an opportunity for the EC to check if the correct data had been collected. It was also for people to object names that were in the register but who were not supposed to be.”

The commissioner said at the time he put out the register he did not know exactly the number of people who did not appear on the provisional register even though they registered

By William Yaw Owusu & Raphael Ofori-Adeniran

Source: Daily Guide/Ghana



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