Tsatsu cross-examines Bawumia

Tsatsu Tsikata - Member, NDC legal team
Tsatsu Tsikata – Member, NDC legal team

Mr Philip Addison, lead counsel for the petitioners, on Monday objected to Mr Tsatsu Tsikata’s cross-examination of Dr Mahamudu Bawumia since the first and third respondents filed a joint affidavit in the Election Petition hearing.

Mr Addison said since Mr Tony Lithur, counsel for the first respondent (Electoral Commission) had already cross-examined the Dr Bawumia (second petitioner and star witness), he found it interesting why Mr Tsikata, counsel for the third respondent (National Democratic Congress), should be allowed to also question Dr Bawumia.

Again he argued that if Mr Tsikata was allowed to cross-examine the witness, then each petitioner must have a counsel to also cross examine every single witness brought before the court by both the first and the third respondents.

Mr Addison’s objection, however, was overruled by Presiding Judge Mr Justice William Atuguba. When Mr Addison attempted to cite authorities to back his claim, Justice Atuguba stated that the law was in the bosom of the judge and that they had relied on the law in their bosom to overrule the objection.

Continuing the cross examination, Mr Tsikata cited the issue of the “22 unknown polling stations” alleged by the petitioners and asked Dr Bawumia if he was aware that his party wrote several letters to the Electoral Commission (EC) presenting names of polling agents to those polling stations.

Dr Bawumia in answering said some officials might have done that but he was unaware.

Mr Tsikata then presented a document on election regulation, which spelt out the role of polling agents and asked Dr Bawumia to read relevant portions.

Dr Bawumia read the portions, which had been paraphrased that the polling agents must certify that the elections were conducted according to law.

Mr Tsikata stated that that portion contradicted earlier assertion by Dr Bawumia that the polling agents were merely observers.

Dr Bawumia, however, insisted that the polling agents were to attest to whatever happened at the polling station and sign to it.

Mr Tsikata then presented two pink sheets’ exhibits of two different polling stations and asked if the witness could tell under, which category of irregularity they fell under.

Mr Tsikata then asked the witness to identify the names of the presiding officers and the polling agents in the two polling stations’ pink sheets provided.

Dr Bawumia while reading said the same names appeared in both pink sheets something Mr Tsikata said was an aberration, which ought not to have happened.

Dr Bawumia in answering said though it was abnormal that the names of presiding officers and polling stations appeared twice on different pink sheets, he said they were part of the irregularities that characterized the 2012 elections.

He said they witnessed 35 of similar cases and that was part of the reasons why they were in court.

However, Mr Tsikata challenged the witness and asked whether that meant the original copies of those pink sheets had the same problem.

Lead counsel of the petitioners then raised an objection, saying that counsel for the third respondent could not put that question before the witness.

He said if Mr Tsikata had the original copies of those pinks he should provide them so the court would make meaning out of his question.

He said once the original copies were not before the court the duplicate pink sheets must be relied upon as the facts.

Mr Tsikata, however, described the objection as “frivolous” but the judges upheld the objection.

He also presented the witness with copies of pink sheet exhibits and asked the witness to read aloud the votes garnered by each of the candidates in the 2012 elections.

Mr Tsikata asked if the petitioners were seeking to annul votes including those polled by Nana Akufo-Addo, the first petitioner and presidential candidate for the New Patriotic Party at the last elections.

Dr Bawumia answered in the affirmative, adding that was the position of the law and that was what the second respondent directed that it be done.

Mr Tsikata further presented another set of pink sheet exhibits to the witness and asked him to mention the names of the polling agents and the number on the C3 column.

Mr Tsikata queried that the figure quoted at column C3 did not make sense because it did not tally.

Though Dr Bawumia agreed with him, he said it was part of the reason why they were in court.

Dr Bawumia said on the specific issue of voting without verification, the petitioners had to rely on the details on the voters register to be able to know, which people were entitled to vote without being biometrically verified.

Mr Tsikata then asked if on the basis of one or two people who voted without verification, all the votes on the pink sheets exhibits should be annulled.

He also challenged the witness whether any of their polling station agents complained that people voted without being verified.

Dr Bawumia said though there were no official complaints or protestation by the petitioners’ polling agents, what he could attest to was the evidence on the pink sheets, which indicated that people voted without being verified.

Mr Tsikata also presented another exhibit quoted from www.myjoyonline.com in which the first respondent, President John Mahama was asking the EC to allow voters to vote without being verified because there were challenges with the verification machine.

He asked the witness to read the report on the website in which several other people including chiefs expressed the same concern shared by the President.

Dr Bawumia said though it was a concern for people to vote, the “law is the law”. He added that people might have different concerns and opinions but all those must be captured under the law and in this case the President actually told the EC to allow people to break the law by voting without being verified and that was what happened.

Earlier, Mr James Quarshie Idun, Counsel for the EC, continued his cross-examination of the witness.

Mr Addison during that objected to the EC tendering the collation form for Atebubu Amantem.

He said since the document was supposed to be the original, all the writing should be in blue ink but they had noticed that the second page of the document was a carbon and on the third page there was a cancellation, which was not signed.

Mr Addison doubted the authenticity of the document and prayed the court to uphold his objection.

Mr Quarshie Idun said the EC’s document was coming from a proper source and the carbon copy should not affect the admissibility of the document.

He said the photocopy of that document had already been admitted conditionally before the court, adding that the document was in answer to paragraph 24 of the petitioner’s affidavits, which said votes for the first respondent were padded and those for the first petitioners were deducted.

He said document he was tendering was in support of their claim that no votes were padded for the first respondent nor were votes for the first petitioner deducted.

Mr Tony Lithur supported the tendering of the document, adding that the EC was the source documents and must be allowed to tender a true copy of the document.

Mr Tsikata also concurred with the EC to tender the document and said he did not understand why that should be an issue.

Mr Addison said the counsel of the second respondent could tender that document through his witness.

Mr Justice Atuguba agreed with Mr Addison and asked Mr Quarshie Idun to proceed with his cross examination of Dr Bawumia.

Source: GNA

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