Petitioners object to EC’s attempt to tender original pink sheet
Controversy sparked at the election petition hearing on Thursday when counsel for the Electoral Commission (EC) Mr James Quarshie Idun sought to tender an original Pink Sheet for special voting through Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the second petitioner.
The disagreement arose when Mr Philip Addison, Counsel for the petitioners, raised an objection to the document being tendered through Dr Bawumia, saying no proper foundation had been laid.
He argued that counsel for the EC was springing a surprise on the petitioners since the EC had not pleaded the document in their affidavits for the petitioners to respond to it.
He said since the counsel for the EC started his cross-examination of the witness they had introduce many new documents, which were not in their pleadings against the ground rules set by the Court that the whole trial was going to be by affidavits.
Mr Tony Lithur, Counsel for President Mahama, who supported Mr Quarshie Idun, said he was completely amazed at the objection raised by Mr Addison to the original Pink Sheet since the EC was the custodian of the original document.
He prayed the court to allow the EC tender the document and cross-examine the witness on it.
Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, Counsel for NDC, who also concurred with Mr Quarshie Idun, said the material being tendered through the witness had a bearing on the trial and also appropriate to elicit the right response from the witness.
However, some of the judges on the panel, who were not comfortable with the back and forth arguments from both sides, urged Mr Quarshie Idun to withdraw the document and later tender through the second respondent.
he court also urged the EC to organised themselves properly and that if that trend continued they would be forced to rule each objection raised by counsel for the petitioners.
Earlier, Mr Quarshie Idun had sought to tender another document in a similar manner, but the court by 6 to 3 majority, upheld the objection raised by Mr Addison and asked the counsel for the EC to tender through right person.
When counsel for EC suggested to the witness that all the polling stations for the special voting were given codes and their results were entered on the Pink Sheet. Dr Bawumia answered and said there was no code and no pink sheet to enter the results of the special voting but rather collation of the result of special voting was done at the collation centre.
Dr Bawumia also posited though by practice the EC was supposed to give ballot sheets to each polling station in excess of about 10 per cent, however, evidence on the Pink Sheets showed ballots sheets sent to the polling stations were in excess of about 98 per cent.
Mr Quarshie Idun asked the witness whether he said in his evidence that at any time he saw a blank space it was equivalent to zero. Dr Bawumia answered and said in the context of over voting a blank space could mean zero.
He said the easiest way to hide over voting was to leave a portion blank so that it would be difficult for people to ascertain whether or not there was over voting.
Mr Quarshie Idun said the portions that were left blank were only an omission in completing the forms.
Dr Bawumia, however, insisted that it was the omission that led to the over voting.
Hearing adjourned to Monday April 29, 2013.