Ghana election petition: Over voting not administrative error – Dr Bawumia

Dr. Bawumia
Dr. Bawumia

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, on Tuesday refuted claims by Mr Tony Lithur, Counsel for President John Mahama that the issue of over voting on the pink sheet was as a result of administrative errors.

He insisted that the evidence on the face of the pink sheet speaks for itself and not the claim being made by the Counsel for President Mahama.

Dr Bawumia made the comment during cross-examination by Mr Tony Lithur when he was grilled on the election petition.

He said the portion of the C1 [CI is the portion where the total number of registered voters is normally recorded on the pink sheets], which should have contained the total number of registered voters was not filled in by the presiding officer, which points to an illegality, adding that, the “officer had something to hide”.

Bawumia insisted that there was over voting at that polling station, whether the polling agents were present and signed on to the irregularities.

He said even though the petitioners did not receive any compliant from polling agents on the issue of over voting on the pink sheets, the evidence on the sheets indicates over voting.

When asked by Mr Lithur if he was aware of comments made by Mr Boakye Agyarko, the campaign manager of the NPP in the 2012 elections, that the election was the cleanest the country had ever had.

Mr Philip Addison, Counsel for the petitioners raised an objection to the question; saying that, it was irrelevant to the issues under discussion and that, the respondents did not include that particular question in their pleadings and must therefore not question the witness on it.

Mr Lithur however insisted that the question was relevant because the witness had given an indication that the NPP polling agents did not complain of irregularities and that if Mr Boakye Agyarko also says the elections were free and fair then there was no need for the petitioners to challenge the authenticity of the results declared by the Electoral Commission (EC).

The Judges after conferring overruled the objection raised by Mr Addison and asked the witness to answer the question posed by Mr Lithur.

Dr Bawumia said he was unaware of Mr Boakye Agyarko comments, adding that, even if he did say so, the figures on the pink sheets tells otherwise and that is more important.

At that juncture, Mr Lithur picked another pink sheet in which the total number of registered voters tallied with the total number of ballots and asked witness how he arrived at the conclusion that there was over voting.

Dr Bawumia admitted that on the face of the pink sheet there was no over-voting but was quick to state that he believes that particular pink sheet was among the over 700 pinks sheets they had struck out.

He said though their agents only attested to the figures on the pink sheets, they cannot validate it, adding that, the agents do not run the elections, so the EC cannot shift blames.

Mr Lithur again showed another pink sheet that indicated that the C1 totalled 118 but the total votes was 119 and justified it by saying it was simply an administrative error.

Dr Bawumia pointed out to Mr Lithur that he had previously used the same error to counter the claims of over voting, but Mr Lithur insisted that that was not so.

Mr Lithur further asked Dr Bawumia whether the error was a deliberate act, and Dr  Bawumia responded by saying the pink sheet speaks for itself.

Mr Justice Jones Dotse, a member of the panel suggested to Mr Lithur to give advance notice to the petitioners on the pink sheets they will be cross-examining on, so that the question can be followed in court.

He said Mr Lithur’s method of cross examination was a laborious one, which involves going through one sheet after another and advised that since the court wants to make progress he should list the items they intend to cross examine on and urged the others to do same.

Mr Lithur however said if the respondents do so, it might give the petitioners an advance notice, and since it is a cross-examination they would think through the answers and destroy the element of surprise, which is an essential part of the process.

He however promised to list those that have to do with unsigned signatures and that of duplication of serial numbers of the pink sheets.

He said the issue of voting without biometric was fundamental to the case and he needs to cross-examine the witness on it and later submit a prepared list of some of the irregularities raised.

Hearing continuous tomorrow.

Source: GNA

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