Afari-Gyan rejects polling station register
Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, witness for the Electoral Commission (EC) in the ongoing Election Petition, on Monday rejected the Mampong Polling Station register, which the petitioners attempted to tender through him.
According Dr Afari-Gyan, the polling station’s register, which the petitioners sought to tender, was not the register used for the December 2012 elections.
Mr Philip Addison, lead Counsel for the petitioners, however showed the witness a polling station register where the picture of a voter had been used for two different names – Adowa Gyamfoah and Afoa Abono.
He also challenged the witness to prove that the register the EC provided the parties in soft copy (PDF format) was different from what the petitioners had presented in court.
Dr Afari-Gyan said though he did not know what a PDF format was, the EC provided the parties with the soft copies of the register in formats that made it difficult to be altered.
Mr Addison stated that it was serious for the EC Chairman to suggest that the soft copy of the register in their possession was different from the one the EC provided to them.
He then showed the Court two hard drives, which he noted contained all the details of the soft copy of the register provided.
Mr Addison later asked the witness if he had cross-checked the register from his office and the register being tendered by the petitioners
Dr Afari-Gyan confirmed that he had cross-checked the register and the content was the same except there was a slight difference in the arrangement of the persons.
At that juncture, Mr Addison attempted to tender the register but Mr James Quarshie Idun, Counsel for the second respondent, raised an objection.
Mr Quarshie Idun insisted that the witness had not accepted the authenticity of the document and that he would only accept if the two documents were tendered together.
Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, Counsel for third respondent, who also objected to the tendering, cited the Evidence Decree, saying unless it was proven to the satisfaction of the court that the document was authentic, it would be quite prejudicial for the court to accept the document.
He further argued that without the proper basis laid, they (respondents) could not associate themselves with the document being tendered.
Dr Bassit Bamba, Counsel for first respondent, who associated himself with the views of Mr Tsikata, stated that one basic rule was for the witness to be able to answer questions from an exhibit but that did not appear to be the case.
He noted that if the witness said the arrangement of the pictures in the original document was different from the one in the petitioners register, then it was a source of great concern.
Justice Rose Owusu then intervened and stated that the issue had been over flogged by the respondent.
She stated that the fact that the first and third respondents could not cross examine the witness did not mean the petitioners could not tender the document.
Mr Addison further stated that he had found the reason for the difference in the arrangement of the two documents.
He said the register for the EC was manipulated after the elections, adding that the EC register was printed on Tuesday July 9, 2013 but the Petitioners register was printed November 21, 2012.
He insisted that the EC’s register was manipulated after the elections and that was why the petitioners were reluctant to tender both documents.
Dr Afari-Gyan, however, stated that the accusation by petitioners would not be a good explanation for the difference in the arrangement within the two documents.
Mr Addison, however, agreed to tender both registers.