Spokesperson for the petitioners in the ongoing election petition case Lawyer Gloria Akuffo has indicated that she will not decline police protection after formal application by her party.
The NPP officially wrote to the police seeking protection for Madam Gloria Akuffoand Lead Counsel for the petitioners Philip Addison.
In an interview withÂ Citi NewsÂ Madam Gloria Akuffo stated that some unknown men on motorbikes sought to know her residence a day after the burglary at her office.
A day after the breaking was discovered some unknown persons on an unregistered motorbike went to the offices of Akuffo Addo and co. and asked for where I liveâ she said.
According to her, although they were sent away without the information they needed, âit has become worrisome especially if my house becomes the target.â
She added that things should not be taken for granted because although she is not at home, her family could be in danger.
She called on the police to deal with the request judiciously.
Reports reaching DAILY GUIDE indicate that KPMG, the reputable international accounting firm chosen by all the parties to count the number of Pink Sheets used as exhibits in the landmark Presidential Election Petition, has found 13,900 of the documents.
It was unclear as at the time of going to press if the exercise had been completed, but it was likely to confirm the petitionersâ case that they, indeed, attached the 11,842 as exhibits.
The issue of how many pink sheets were attached as exhibits in the case became very contentious with the respondents insisting that they did not receive all the further and better particulars as directed by the court.
The request to count the pink sheets was initially made by the National Democratic Congress (NDC), before the court. With the consent of all the parties in the petition, an order was given by the court for an independent referee to conduct the exercise.
Just as KPMG commenced the exercise in the presence of two observers each from the parties as ordered by the court, the NDC, through its lead counsel Tsatsu Tsikata, came to court with a story that the exhibits had been compromised and that the boxes containing the pink sheets had increased from 24 to 31.
In fact, the allegation over whether or not the boxes of the exhibits had been tampered with started right after the courtâs sitting on Monday, May 20, when news broke that Mr. Tsikata, Tony Lithur who represents President John Dramani Mahama and later James Quarshie-Idun representing the Electoral Commission (EC), had gate-crashed the venue for the counting and requested the Supreme Court panel chairman Justice William Atuguba to review the order of the court.
According to Mr. Tsikata, there were alleged criminalities involved and as a result, they would prefer an extended control mechanism that would take into consideration copies served on at least two panel members to compare that with the pink sheets at the courtâs registry.
The issue of whether the petition was being unduly delayed had come up strongly since Mr. Tsikata took over the cross-examination of the principal witness, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, who is also the 2nd petitioner. And many were of the view that the brouhaha over the pink sheets was part of the ploy to drag the process.
Mr. Tsikata, whose client came into the petition by way of a joinder, was in his 13th day of cross-examination even though NDCâs co-respondents including President John Dramani Mahama and the Electoral Commission (EC) used about three days each to conclude a similar exercise.
Just as he was winding up on his cross-examination, he brought another motion, seeking to cross-examine some of the witnesses who filed affidavits in support of the petitionersâ case; but the court threw him out, together with President Mahama and the EC who made similar applications.
Mr. Tsikata however, had always denied criticisms that his style of cross-examination was designed to delay the process, often accusing the petitioners of presenting exhibits that forced the respondents to âdig deepâ in order to counter the petitionersâ claims.
When the NDC complained to the court, the nine-member panel chaired by Justice William Atuguba rejected their attempt to halt the counting exercise.
The court ruled that KPMG should continue with the exercise and any concerns that would be raised by the parties incorporated into the final report.
The accounting firm had the duty of âspecifying in respect of each pink sheet, polling station name and its code number and exhibit number if any,â the court stated.
âIn doing so the said referee should make a true and faithful count of the said exhibits of pink sheets according to and under the various categories of alleged electoral malpractices in issue before this court.â
The court said the professional fees to be charged by KPMG should be shared equally between the parties and added that each party was at liberty to choose two representatives for the counting exercise as observers.
KPMG, however, opted to do the counting free of charge.
By William Yaw Owusu
The Minority in parliament has raised serious concerns over the real intent of the ruling National Democratic Congress(NDC) government to secure the $3 billion Chinese loan facility, which it saysÂ has so many lapses that could be a sure avenue for some government officials to enrich themselves.
At a press conference yesterday, the minority said the nation stood to lose about $500 million to some individual pockets, if those loopholes were not checked by parliament.
The minority has, therefore, called on the government to, as a matter of urgency, Â re-negotiateÂ the terms of agreement with their Chinese counterparts because at the end of the day the Ghanaian taxpayer, who would be paying for this commercial loan, deserved real value for money.
LeadingÂ the minority in the press conference, the minority leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, said since the Master Facility Agreement (MFA) wasÂ signed for the loan in 2011 during the tenure ofÂ late President Atta Mills, the minority in parliament had raised a lot of red flags over some specific requirements and conditions in the loan agreement, which according to them if ignored would be inimical to the interest of Ghanaians.
According to him, the MFA guarantees a minimum of 60 per cent of all contracts under the loan, which would be awarded to the Chinese company and on top of it many of the projects are to be built, operated and transferred to Ghana stressing that the contractor in this case has become the investor and that the operator or the contractor will recoup his investment before transferring.
âWe want to call on the government to re-negotiate this aspect of the agreement and make it that a maximum of 60 per cent of the contracts should go to Chinese companies while the remaining 40 per cent will be for Ghanaian companies since the minimum being pegged at 60 could even mean that blanket 100 per cent of the contracts could be awarded to Chinese companies,â he indicated
The minority explained that feasibility studies done on most of the projects to be undertaken under loan were done in a rush and that government officials could not give clear ceiling on the cost of the various projects, raising suspicion of possible perpetration ofÂ fraud and corruption in the management of these projects.
He said, for instance, that the agreement for the construction of coastal fishing harbours and landing sites would require between $150 and $250 leaving a room of $100 million, the Eastern Corridor Multi-Modal Transport Project cost pegged between $150 million and $500 million leaving a room of $350million while the Accra Metropolitan ICT-Enhanced Traffic Management Project also left a room of $50 million stressing that the three projects could potentially be executed at the cost $450 million instead of $950 million which had been captured as the cost of the projects in the loan.
âThe looseness of such broad banding would certainly create room for consultants and contractors to inflate the cost of projects,â he said, adding that government through this is also creating space for corruption and fraudulent manipulation of project cost which will not yield real value for money for the taxpayer.
The minority also raised issue about the fact that the $3 billion Chinese loan covered the Accra Metropolitan ICT-Enhanced Traffic Management and aspects of the Nsawam road, the Dodowa Â and La Beach roads, yet the Minister of Finance said in the budget that the Finance Ministry had raised bonds to pay contractors on these same projects.
âOn the issue of raising bonds to finance these projects captured under the Chinese loan, the Finance Minister did not even come to parliament for approval to raise these bonds,â the minority leader noted, pointing out that it was required of the minister to come to parliament to brief members about the state of indebtedness to the contractors, now that he is also seeking to use part of the Chinese loan to cover the same programmed roads, otherwise there could be double payments for the same work done.
The minority leader also indicated that the Master Facility Agreement (MFA) for the Chinese loan provided for the collateralisation of the nationâs oil revenue which the Petroleum Revenue Management Act restricts and, therefore, the loan was in blatant breach of this Petroleum Revenue Management Act.
âThe Chinese are lifting our oil even though the loan is not in and this is very serious,â he noted, adding that for the Minister of Information to come out last ThursdayÂ and say that the Chinese loan would soon be in despite all these genuine concerns by the minority was most unfortunate.
The Minority leader said there were serious difficulties with the Chinese loans and, therefore, the loan agreement should be brought back to parliament for reconsideration.
According to the minority, the Gas Project which has started and is scheduled to be financed by the Chinese loan is currently in limbo.
âOur information is that as of now, the gas project is the only project that has started in earnest and even that one has run into some challenges and works were halted by the Chinese,â the minority leader said.
The minority, therefore,Â served notice to the Minister of Finance that he would be summoned before parliament to answer why the gas contract was being executed while the subsidiary agreement relating to the project had not come to parliament.
âOur request for the gas contract to be brought to parliament for scrutiny and possible approval has so far not been heeded to in obvious contravention of Article 181 (5),â he said
Present at the press conference were some members of the minority including Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, MP for Old Tafo; Prof. Gyan Baffour, MP for Wenchi; Ignatius Baffour Awuah, MP for Sunyani West and Isaac Osei, MP for Subin.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr
An attempt by the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to tender a pink sheet in support of their case that the presidential election petition has been brought in bad faith, backfired Â when the document bounced in court yesterday.
Indeed, the same document (MA Primary School Polling Station at Asokwa Constituency in the Ashanti Region) had been tendered, for the purposes of identification, by Tsatsu Tsikata, lead counsel for the NDC on his 5th day of cross-examination of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the 2nd petitioner in the case.
At that time, Mr. Tsikata had said he was trying to prove a case that over-voting also occurred in the strongholds of the petitionersâ party, NPP, therefore, in his estimation; the petitioners had brought the petition in bad faith.
Interestingly, the NDC as 3rd respondent together with President John Dramani Mahama (1st respondent) and the Electoral Commission as 2nd respondent have all vehemently denied that over-voting occurred during the December 7 & 8, 2012 general elections; a position they had held right from the time the petition was filed.
Even Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah, the NDC General-Secretary who is being led in his evidence-in-chief on a Â power of attorney Â from President John Dramani Mahama as 1st petitioner, insisted in the dock that there was no over-voting and even added that even if indeed it happened, it was a âclerical error.â
The Funny Side
The NDC General-Secretaryâs testimony was spiced with intermittent smiles and gestures.
At one point, there was spontaneous laughter in the courtroom when Mr. Asiedu-Nketiah made a request for the calculator used by Dr. Bawumia to put figures together during his cross-examination.
He had mentioned 100 in answer to a tally of ballots on a pink sheet when asked to assess one of the petitionersâ claims regarding over-voting.
Realising that he might have given a wrong figure to the court, he quickly told the court that the figure should have been 1,000 saying âperhaps I could borrow Dr. Bawumiaâs calculatorâ.
In another instance, when he appeared to be confusing the court with his reference of respondents instead of petitioners and vice versa, he remarked that âI am a village palm-wine tapper testifying in court,â generating more laughter.
In his eagerness to parry the respondentsâ allegations, Mr. Asiedu-Nketiah would not even allow his counsel to conclude a question on a letter written by the NPP Chairman to the EC when he started referring to a statement purportedly made by the EC Chairman instead, and had to be brought back on track by Mr. Tsikata.
Seeking to tender the pink sheet, which was later rejected in the court generated heated debate between Mr. Tsikata and Philip Addison, lead counsel for the petitioners.
Counsel: Have a look at this document which was identified during the cross-examination of the second petitioner (Hands the witness the exhibit). Now, what is the nature of that document that you have identified as ID 1.
Witness: My lords, it is the pink sheet of the polling station relating to MA Primary School, Asokwa with polling station code, F 191201.
Counsel: Now, you indicated that from the polling station code, you could identify where a polling station is. From the code of that polling station, are you able to tell what region or constituency it was?
Witness: Yes, my lords, itâs evident from my narration that F is Ashanti Region.
Counsel: Now, that sheet, does it have relevant information in respect of the December elections? âŚ.
Mr. Addison: My lords, I object to this question. It is a question that goes to the content of a document that is not in evidence.
Counsel: My lords, Iâm clearly laying the foundation to tender this document and the question that I asked was whether the sheet on its face has any information relevant to the election. That is a necessary basis on which this document can be tendered, therefore, my lords it is important for the witness to be able to testify that that sheet relates to the December electionsâŚ.So my lords, this is clearly a relevant basis for proceeding with the tendering of what has already been identified…(Amidst heightened sense of anticipation in the courtroom, the judges conferred in a bid to giving a ruling on whether that document can be tendered or not. In the process, Mr. Addison rose to re-emphasise his objection)
Mr. Addison: My lords, we object to the tendering of the document. The attempt to tender this document is in contravention of the directions of this court given on 2nd April, which directed the parties to attach to an affidavit to all documents they would be relying on. This is a document that the first and third respondents clearly are relying on as part of their case and so it should have been properly attached to their affidavitâŚ.They have attached documents they are relying on, and this document is not one of them. Allowing this document would mean that the directions of your lordships no longer holds. The petitioners complied with your lordshipsâ order, indeed, as a result of the order of your lordships; the petitioners went through quite some difficulties in compiling the pink sheets. My lords, in attaching the document that the petitioners would be relying on, sufficient notice was afforded the respondents who then reacted to it in their affidavits, there was no mention of this document in the affidavit of the first and third respondents; it is not part of their case. We have closed our case, and we are now being confronted with such documents, in the circumstances, we pray that the tender of this document should be disallowed.
Counsel: My lords, yesterday in this court, the petitioners tendered a list of 704 polling stations as an exhibit in this proceeding. That list was not part of any affidavit that was sworn before you and your lordships allowed that list, clearly because of its relevance, so with the greatest respect, in the same manner as a relevant document was submitted by the petitioners after the stage of the affidavit being sworn, we are submitting that this document is a relevant document identified as a statement of poll and declaration of results at an identified polling station. My lords, the relevance of this document cannot be contested because on its face the identified document- it was identified during the cross-examination-, on its face the identified document is a statement of poll in respect of a particular polling station in this country. My lords, it is part of our case that the issue in contention relates to 22,002 polling stations because it in respect of 26,002 polling stations that a declaration of result was made. We have also pleaded the selective manner in which pink sheets have been provided by the petitioners in this case, and in the affidavit that has been filed, there is an indication that the petition is brought in bad faith (quotes paragraph 27 of the amended answer of the third respondent). We have pleaded that in bringing the petition before the honourable court, the petitioners are acting in bad faithâŚ (Again quotes paragraph 17 of the affidavit of the third respondent). The exhibit that we are seeking to tender is a relevant part of our case as pleaded and as indicated in the affidavit.
Mr. Quarshie-Idun: My lords, I would like to make an observation, since a reference was made to the decision of the court made on the 2nd of AprilâŚ.As regards the tendering of documents, it will also affect the second respondent, but I can wait and make my submissions laterâŚ
Mr. Addison: We raised an objection; counsel [Mr. Quarshie-Idun] if the objection is ruled on, you can give your observations to the court. Respectfully, with the leave of the court, I would like to [address] certain issues raised by my learned friend. It is about the 704. My lords, the list of 704 polling stations are part of the 11, 842 polling stations to which pink sheets were attached to our affidavit, so they are matters that were already in evidence. They were also in the Further and Better Particulars, so there is full knowledge of that list by the respondents. My lords, we are not talking about the relevancy of the document here-it is not about relevancy-, we are saying that thereâs been directions from this court as to the conduct of this petition and we have abided by it and we have closed our case following those directions. Now, the first and third respondents by bringing this document are setting up an entirely new case behind our backs. The paragraphs referred to in their affidavits made no reference to this document and they further alleged that they are trying to establish âBad faithâ. Again, no particulars of bad faith were given in their affidavit for the petitioners to react to it; no such particulars were given.
Counsel: My lords, may I, with your leave, just draw your attention to what your order said and how we understood your order. My lords, that order made it clear that we could tender the document that was identified in cross-examination of the second petitioner. That order was in very clear terms and that is why I limited myself just to establishing relevance of the document in terms of your order. It was because of that that we did not proceed to tendering it through the second petitioner during cross-examination, but we were allowed to questioning him in relation to the ID1 and that order has not been set asideâŚ.(Judges continued to consult among one another for a final ruling on the issue. Eventually, Justice Atuguba announced the ruling)
Justice Atuguba: Very well, the objection is sustained.
Mr. Addison: My lords, the document has to be marked as âRejectedââŚ
Justice Atuguba: Yes, I think that must be done.
Led in evidence by Mr. Tsikata, the NDC General-Secretary popularly called General Mosquito told the packed court that he was testifying on behalf of both President Mahama and the NDC because the ruling party sponsored the President in the December 2012 general elections.
He said as the General-Secretary of the NDC, he was deeply involved in all the meetings the political parties held with the EC in the run-up to the election.
âI led the 3rd respondentâs team to the Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meetings and was involved in all the processes.â
He told the court that he was also involved in the planning, recruitment and training of the NDC party agents and added that they had 52,004 polling agents, which meant they were able to position two each at every polling station.
Mr. Asiedu-Nketiah said the agents were trained to play four key roles namely: check impersonation, multiple voting, ensuring nobody tampers with the ballot papers in the ballot box and making sure election officials conducted their duties in accordance with the rules on election day.
He said he had been involved in elections in the past 34 years either as candidate or an agent, and in respect of the 2012 general election, played a key role for his party.
He mentioned the determination of the positions of candidates on the ballot papers, review of the outcome of the Biometric Registration Exercise, printing of ballot papers and how to manage issues on election day as some of the key issues that were discussed at IPAC meetings.
He recounted how the Biometric Voters Register was compiled and how the EC told them about the total number of those registered as the provisional data and how the EC said it was going to conduct a mop up exercise as well as registration of some Ghanaians abroad.
He told the court that the voters register kept changing and said it moved from 13,917,366 to 14,158,890 and then to 14,031,680 adding at one point at IPAC meeting all the parties settled on 14,031,680 as the figure for the election.
Printing Ballot Paper
Mr. Asiedu-Nketiah told the court that in the printing of ballot papers, the NDC as well as all participating political parties and other candidates were involved in the process saying âthere was 24 hour monitoring of the printingâ.
He also said that the packing, distribution up to utilisation of the ballot papers were strictly monitored by all the parties and said they all tracked the distribution process.
He said on election day, the partyâs agent undertook specific assignment by focusing on the tally of votes of all candidates and said the agents monitor sorting of ballots, counting and declaration of the results and added that every party was given the analysis of ballot papers.
He told the court that he was the first person to vote at his polling station in Seikwa in the Tain District before visiting about 20 other polling stations across three regions.
He said he went through the Biometric Verification devise before casting his ballot and took steps to show the court how the process of casting ballot was done but Mr. Addison cut in to object saying the 1st and 3rd respondents had not been pleaded.
âWhat he is doing is completely outside his pleadings before this court. There is nothing in the pleadings mentioned. They filed 7200 affidavits from their witnesses but did not say this.â
Mr. Tsikata countered that the witness in his pleadings made mention of the evidence he was leading and he was recounting his personal knowledge.
The court in a 5-4 majority decision with Justices Julius Ansah, Rose Owusu, Annin-Yeboah and Sulley Gbadegbe dissenting, overruled the objection and asked Mr. Asiedu-Nketiah to proceed.
He admitted that because of the problems encountered as a result of the malfunctioning of the BVR machines, the EC had to conduct further elections the next day.
He recollected the meeting with the Ghana Peace Council where all the parties and the EC were present and added that the NPP had impressed on the commission to suspend the declaration of the results due to reported irregularities, malpractices and violations but EC eventually went ahead to declare it.
He stated emphatically that there was nowhere in all the 26,002 polling stations where over-voting took place saying, âI havenât seen evidence of voters voting without verificationâŚI disagree with the petitioners. If they say there was over-voting. I donât know which figures they are referring to.â
Same polling station with same result
Counsel: There is one other category under which the petitioners are seeking to allege that there were irregularities in this election; that is the category they say the same polling station code with different results, what do you have to say in respect of that?
Witness: My lords, in reading the petition, I came across this allegation. Again, my lords, I consider it to have come from a situation where the petitioners are not appreciating how voting is done because on a careful study of the polling stations it is alleged that there are double pink sheets, you realise that these were polling stations that were used for Special Voting. In any polling station that special voting took place, at the end of the elections, you would have two (2) statements of poll and declaration of results. F1 indicates the results of special voting and then the second one indicates the results of the regular voting. So my lords, I have looked at the allegation and I have confirmed that all the cases where it is being alleged that there is double pink sheets, they relate to polling stations that were used for special voting.
Counsel: And what does special voting mean?
Witness: My lords, special voting is voting that is conducted to allow persons whose duties on the voting day would take them away from the normal polling stations, such that it would be difficult for them to cast their vote. A list is made of such persons and then the second respondent conduct elections for them. This special voting is special only in the sense that it happens before the voting day and the counting, sorting and declaration of results are not done on the day of voting, otherwise, everything about special voting is like the regular votingâŚ
Counsel: In your affidavit, you have actually claimed that the representatives of the New Patriotic Party have made changing allegations about the alleged irregularities and malpractices which they claimed accounted for their defeat, what do you mean by that?
Witness: My lords, before the close of polls, representatives of the NPP started indicating that there were malpractices and this happened after the same representatives have come out to acclaim the result as free and fair and that nobody should come out to contest the outcome. The second respondent should be allowed to do their work without fear or favour.
Not long after that, there were other press statement that there were malpractices all over, and that the results are not acceptable. I believe this came when it became evident that the NPP and the first petitioner was losing the election.Â After that, I remember the claim they made at the second respondentâs office were contained in this document. Subsequent to that, they came out after the declaration making all sorts of things that were substantially different from any other claims they had made in the past, including the allegation that voting took place outside this country and that the external votes were inflated by a certain number-more than 200,00 votes.Â They hanged onto this, then at a later time, the claim was dropped and then they started claiming that the result has been paddedâŚ.they kept changing the claims, so my lords, in this courtroom, we have witnessed the changing of claims for each passing dayâŚ
Definition of over-voting
He said his definition for over-voting is simply when the number of ballot papers in the ballot box is more than the number of registered voters in a particular polling station.
In his eveidence-in-chief, Bawumia had said that serial numbersÂ are not “decorations” on the pink sheet and that the EC paid âgood moneyâ to go through tender in order to uniquely attach a serial number to a polling station code or name.
âThe only number that comes embossed on the [pink sheet] is the serial number. It is the feature just as you have for cheques or passports. The serial number is a security feature and if you breach that, you compromise the elections,â he had explained.
However Mr. Asiedu-Nketiah disagreed and said the 2nd petitionerâs claim was not correct and that serial numbers could not be primary documents in the election.
He said there were only two ways to identify polling stations and it comes by the name of the polling station which was invariably related to the locality and code numbers of the polling station.
He said that an experienced polling agent could identify the polling station by observing the code number.
He went ahead to give the alphabetical manner in which the EC has assigned polling stations in all the regions adding that Western Region is identified by âAâ, Ashanti Region by âFâ and Brong Ahafo Region by âGâ, among others.
Â By William Yaw Owusu & Raphael Ofori-Adeniran
A staunch member of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Benoni Tonny Amekudzi who sprang a surprise at the Supreme Court recently when he attempted to be part of the Presidential Election Petition as friend of the court, has filed an application for review before the court.
Amekudzi, who is said to be a âreturneeâ lawyer from America, was thrown out by the court on the basis that his application seeking to be friend of the court (Amicus Curiae) was not properly before it.
The application was slated for yesterday when the 1st and 3rd respondents through NDC General-Secretary Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah mounted the witnessâ box to open their defence but the court adjourned the process until Monday May 27, for it to be moved.
However, in view of Monday being a statutory public holiday, Justice William Atuguba, chairing the nine-member panel that had thrown out the application, said it would rather be moved on Tuesday May 28.
It would be recalled that on March 5, 2013, a strange spectacle unfolded at the Supreme Court when Mr. Amekudzi sprang up with his application.
Lawyers on both side of the petition have barely finished introducing themselves when an unknown lawyer; Benoni Tonny Amekudzi sprang to the floor to lay a motion before the court.
In a loud voice, spiced with ample gesticulation and an exotic accent, Mr. Amekudzi, without going through the standard procedures, launched himself at the bewildered panel and tried to move a motion to the effect that a sitting President could not be sued or joined as a defendant or a respondent to a lawsuit or petition.
It was unclear how he sneaked himself into the front row where the case was being argued, as he was usually spotted sitting behind the NDC executives and having the same accreditation as the NDC members.
When he sprang to his feet, lawyers from all sides of the divide looked at him in disbelief for such an audacious diversion of attention from the matter currently being argued in court.
He did so by circumventing the standard processes of filing for such motions in the Supreme Court. In the Supreme Court, the standard procedure is for such an application to be accompanied by an affidavit. Mr. Amekudzi had none.
The bewildered court audience shifted uneasily and murmured in amusement at the motion that Mr. Amekudzi was seeking to smuggle into the fray. The lawyer claim he was filing as Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) because his motion was in the supreme interest of the general public.
Members from the legal teams of the petitioners and respondents were asked their views on the on Mr. Amekudziâs intervention.
Counsel for the petitioners Philip Addison said âwe do not think that this application is properly before the courtâŚ.An Amicus Curiae brief is supposed to assist the court in determining a matter that is of public interest, in this instance, this application has been brought in support of the First Respondent and therefore it ceases to be an Amicus Curiae brief. It is partisan, it is intended to aid one side and that cannot be an Amicus Curiae. For that reason alone, we pray that this application be dismissed.â
Curiously, both the petitioners and the respondents overwhelmingly agreed with Philip Addisonâs views. Counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Tsatsu Tsikata described the gate-crashing lawyer as an âInter-meddlerâ who should not be allowed in the proceedings.
Consequently, the Supreme Court threw out the motion arguing that since a petition was filed before a winner in a presidential election was sworn in, he could be sued in an election petition.
Reading the ruling, the Presiding Judge of the Panel, Justice William Atuguba said, âWe are of the opinion that the intervention cannot properly be termed an application to present an Amicus Curiae brief, it being in support of one party represented already by counselâŚâ He quoted Article 64 of the 1992 Constitution and Constitutional Instrument 16 (CI. 16) relating to the application.
âAs much as an election petition in any rate can be commenced before the person becomes President and being sworn into office, the application is therefore dismissed,â Justice Atuguba concluded.
Upon hearing the ruling, Mr. Amekudzi, having burnt up his gusto, stood up and bowed before he left the front row to the back row of the court.
On Tuesday May 28, he would have his day once more in the Supreme Court in front of live television while Ghanaians wait to see if he would be lucky with his curiae brief application this time.
Â By William Yaw Owusu
President John Mahama and First Lady, Lordina, have arrived in Addis Ababa for the Golden Jubilee Celebration of the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now African Union (AU) and the 21st Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government.
President Mahama is expected to hold a number of discussions with colleague heads of state, and grant audience to the UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark, UNAIDS Executive Director Micheal Sidibe and the Executive Director of The Global Fund, Mark Dybul.
The President and other senior officials of his government will from today be engaged in various meetings outlined by the union to discuss issues affecting the continent.
President Mahama and his heads of state will also adopt various measures aimed at promoting growth and unity on the continent.
He will also participate in a forum of Heads of State and Government on the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) before Saturday’s Anniversary Celebration.
The Presidentâs delegation includes the Foreign Minister Hannah Tetteh, Deputy Information Minister Felix Kwakye Ofosu and the Executive Secretary to the President Dr. Raymond Atuguba amongst others.
General Secretary for the National Democratic Congress and witness for the 1st and 3rd Respondents in the ongoing Presidential Election Petition in giving his evidence in chief at the Supreme Court, has backed the petitioners case on most of the major irregularities identified by the petitioners.
Mr. Asiedu Nketia made the concessions while being led in evidence by Counsel for the NDC, Tsatsu Tsikata on the 1st day of his appearance in the witness box as the petitioners had indicated that subject to the results of the ongoing KPMG audit, they had closed their case.
Mr. Asiedu Nketia, while speaking stated that all the parties and participating candidates before the elections agreed, as was also contained in the law, that every voter must be verified by the biometric verification device before he or she is allowed to vote.
He acknowledged that indeed it was for this reason that the parties also established that in the event a biometric verification device broke down in the course of the election, the device had to be replaced at the affected polling station and that in the event that that was not possible, voting at the station had to be postponed to the next day.
He noted that there was no circumstance per their agreement and laws which allowed voting to go on without prior biometric verification.
On the issue of presiding officerâs signature, Mr. Asiedu Nketia again stated that the presiding officerâs signature was very necessary and that the presiding officer had to sign the statement of poll and declaration of results form (pink sheet) before the results are declared.
Mr. Asiedu Nketia indeed admitted that there were a number of polling stations where the presiding officersâ signature was absent on the declaration form but said that once the polling agents had witnessed the form, there was no problem if the presiding officer didnât sign.
On over voting, Mr. Asiedu Nketia could not give a clear and cogent answer on the irregularity as had been defined by the petitioners. He suggested that even if more ballots were found in the ballot box at the close of voting than ballots issued to voters, it could not be said to be over voting or wrong if the ballots in the box did not exceed the votersâ register at the polling station.
He also said that even if the ballots in the ballot box exceeded the number of ballots issued to voters on Election Day, it was alright as long as all the ballots in the ballot box had the stamp of the electoral commission.
Mr. Asiedu Nketia in giving his testimony also stated that he can confirm that no issue of over voting occurred in all the 26,002 polling stations across the country, defying the electoral commissionâs admission that indeed a few polling stations were annulled as a result of over voting and voting without biometric verification and also his own Counselâs attempt to show that over voting occurred in more polling stations than the petitioners had stated including some areas in the petitionerâs stronghold.
In another interesting twist, the NDC General Secretary, in relation to the filling of the ballot accounting section of the Pink Sheet before counting begins as is the stated rule for Election officials, stated that in the villages the election laws and rules were not adhered to as the Presiding officers had to meet the demands of the people.
âMy Lords, I heard Dr. Bawumia speaking about the fact that the ballot accounting section of the pink sheet should be filled before the box is opened and I strongly disagree with him. Even though, that is what should be done in theory and as is written on the pink sheet and election guidelines, that is not what happened because in the villages, as soon as it is 5p.m, people start moving to the polling station and start shouting âchooboi, chooboi, we want to see what is in the boxâ so in such situations, the officers open the box and count before the fill that part of the formâ.
President John Dramani Mahama will leave Accra on Thursday to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to take part in activities to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the formation of the Organisation of African Unity, now the Africa Union.
A statement signed by Deputy Minister for Information Felix Kwakye Ofosu, said the President, while in Addis Ababa, would take part in a forum of Heads of State and Governments on the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).
âPresident Mahama is expected to share with colleague heads of state, Ghanaâs experience, learning and benefits from the APRM,â the statement noted.
With many of the continentâs leaders looking up to him to champion a number of causes, President Mahama is expected to hold a number of meetings and also address the AU session on the way forward for the continent; enhancing security, improving human settlement and the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Accompanying the President is the First Lady, Lordina Mahama, who will be attending a summit of the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV & AIDS in Addis Ababa.
From Ethiopia, President Mahama will pay a threeâday state visit to France at the invitation of President FranĂ§ois Hollande and also attend the fifth TICAD Conference in Japan.
There was objection galore at the ongoing landmark Presidential Election Petition, when the principal witness, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, was re-examined at the Supreme Court yesterday.
Almost every question posed by the petitionersâ lead counsel, Phillip Addison, was characterised by concerted objections from all the counsels for the three respondents namely, Tony Lithur (for President John Dramani Mahama), James Quarshie-Idun (Electoral Commission) and Tsatsu Tsikata (National Democratic Congress).
As a result, the nine-member panel, chaired by Justice William Atuguba, had to spend considerable length of time before either overruling or sustaining the objections on each occasion.
The re-examination of Dr. Bawumia became possible following the announcement by Mr. Tsikata that he had brought his cross-examination to an end after 13 days of grilling the witness but had indicated that he would conclude finally subject to the report to be submitted by KPMG, a reputable international accounting firm that has been chosen to count the number of pink sheets attached as exhibits by the petitioners.
Following the objections, Dr. Bawumia, who normally spoke for hours in previous proceedings, was virtually on holiday yesterday as most of the questions he was supposed to answer were truncated by the objections from the respondentsâ counsels.
It was Tony Lithur who fired the first salvo when he objected to Mr. Addisonâs question on further and better particulars that Dr. Bawumia had been referring to during cross-examination in respect of particulars and pinks sheets covering 11,842 polling stations with their specific categories of violations, malpractices and irregularities.
Just as Dr. Bawumia said, âYes, my lords, I have the further and better particularsâ, Mr. Lithur objected vehemently.
Mr. Lithur: Objection! There is no ambiguity here, the questions were answered directly and clearly…in our cross-examination, the scope is very clear, it canât be used as an opportunity to lead evidence in chiefâŚ. (Counsel for the third respondent Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata also rose to object to the question)
Mr. Tsikata supported Mr. Lithur saying âthe further and better particulars are part of the pleadings in this proceeding and there is really no basis on which some document claimed to be further and better particulars by the witness can be put in at this point in time. The further and better particulars were filed in the pleadings and we have copies of what was filed, I believe your lordships have copies of what was filed.â
Mr. Quarshie-Idun: My lords, I also object to the line of questioning on the same grounds stated by my learned friends.
Counsel: My lords, the witness was accused of misleading the court, and that the further and better particulars did not contain the information that he says it contains. That is a matter that goes to the credibility of the witness, and we are entitled in re-examination to raise that issue and vindicate the credibility of the witness. The further and better particulars is a document that has been supplied to all the respondents and, therefore, it is not a document that will take any of them by surprise. They have asked questions on it; they have denied certain information that is in itâŚMy lords, there are quite a number of authorities on the point and because I foresee my learned friends getting up every now and again to object, maybe I should refer your lordships to the authorities we have so that a ruling is made to clarify the issue (He referred the court to several precedents including the case of NDK Financial Services versus Arnold Agyei, Richard Agyei, Benjamin Agyei and Sophia Mensah. Mr. Lithur cuts inâŚ.)
Mr. Lithur: I suppose when it comes to that we are covered by our legislation, resort to Common Law decisions are quite irrelevant and the relevant position as contained in the Evidence Act, 1975 (He reads the relevant portions)âŚClearly, re-examination as of right only arises when itâs a new matter contrary to the authorities that my learned friend has readâŚ.It is an amazing suggestion indeed that what is considered as pleading is being sought to be tendered. I think itâs completely inappropriate.
Mr. Quarshie-Idun: My lords, I would also just briefly add that this is a matter on which we have earlier pleaded that we have not received the full complement of the 11,000 odd exhibits, my lords. As far back as 27th of February, in paragraph 18 of our second amended answer, this pleading was made, so it is not a matter that first came up in cross-examination.
Mr. Tsikata: I may also just add that the pleading in respect to the further and better particulars that were ordered by your lordships were responded to in terms that were documented before the court and those documents before the court, need no further tendering in evidence, they are already part of the record of this court.
Counsel: If itâs part of the record, I âm wondering why my learned friends are opposing it. Again, counsel for second respondent indicated what we were saying. He says that the further and better particulars do not contain all the information that we are asserting it contains. We think it is a matter that should be tendered before this court to have a look at it and see whether whatever we are saying is true or notâŚ.(Judges conferred and the objection was sustained, but counsel rose to ask the court to furnish him with the reasons for sustaining the objection to serve as a guide).
Justice Atuguba: There is a number of reasons, but I will just give one: The pleadings are already part of the records and their tender in evidence is out of place.
As a result, Mr. Addison reframed his question asking: âDr. Bawumia, during cross-examination, you told the court that you were no longer relying on the 11,842 polling stations, and that you have deleted from that list 704 polling stations, now all attempts by you to give a list of these 704 polling stations were resisted by counsel for respondents, now do you have a list with you?â to which Dr. Bawumia responded, âYes, my lords.â
Mr. Lithur again raised objectionâŚ
Mr. Lithur: Objection! The witness was very clear about the time when he was testifying where he has deleted polling stations that he did not require for this case and that evidence was given under examination-in-chief. In fact, during the examination-in-chief, he was permitted to tender a revised analysis based on the polling stations that he said he had deleted and pursuant to that, he delivered to this court as exhibit, a list of polling stations that they said they were no longer going to rely on. This was when he was leading evidence. My lords, if the witness had this material before the commencement of trial, he ought to have-during the time he was giving his evidence-in-chief-, given that to the court. Being confronted in cross-examination with materials that he has supplied which shows numerous duplications, what they are trying to do is to clean up the table. I think that is not part of the scope of re-examination. The opportunity was there when he was testifying. This is not a matter that they can use re-examination to reintroduceâŚ. (Mr. Tsikata also rose to support a similar view expressed by his colleague, Mr. Quarshie-Idun was also in full support)
Counsel: My lords, we are seeking to tender this document with leave of the court. The respondents have had every opportunity to cross-examine the witness on 11, 842 and therefore it includes those that he is relying on and those he says he is not relying on. Now this list would assist the court in ascertaining the case of the petitioners, which has narrowed it down from 11,842 to 11,138(He referred the court to the proceedings of April 24, 2013 where the judges agreed that furnishing them with a list of the deleted polling stations would be useful to the court)âŚ.I think this is the appropriate time to tender the list of 704 polling station that the petitioners say they are no longer relying on. (Mr. Tsikata protested, saying that if a new list was tendered, then he would be forced to cross-examine on that list.)
Counsel: It is not a new list. It is contained in the 11,842 polling stations. They have had the opportunity to cross-examine the witness on these polling stations. We are assisting the court by providing this list of 704 polling stations which the witness says he is no longer relying on. Several times, reference was made by the witness during cross-examination. He was not given the opportunity to tender it and now is the time to tender it with the leave of the court. As I have already pointed out, your lordships thought that it would be useful to have itâŚ. (Judges conferred again; Justice Atuguba read the ruling)
Justice Atuguba: 7 to 2, Akoto-Bamfo and Gbadegbe dissenting, objection is over-ruled.
The petitioners then sought to tender the CD Rom which they said contained exhibits in electronic form of the 704 polling stations that they said they were no longer relying on in their analysis.
The respondents, again objected arguing that the court already have enough exhibits to decide the matter but Mr. Addison parried the objections saying the CD-ROMs were to ease the evaluation.
Justice Atuguba later sustained the objection so the CD Rom was not tendered.
6,823 Polling Stations
Counsel: Dr. Bawumia, during cross-examination, counsel for third respondent suggested to you that your duplicate serial numbers category-the exhibit P series-, involve half of the 6,823 polling stations and that you have double counted and padded this category of polling stations and pink sheets, simply to mislead the court and increase the number of polling stations in order to shore up your claim. He asked you to provide a list of counterpart duplicate serial numbers, of which you did and which was used in cross-examination, but which, however, counsel refused to tender. Do you have the list with you?
Witness: Yes, my lords, I have the list.
Counsel: Now what would you like to do with the list?
Witness: I would like to tender it if it pleases the court.
This time around the respondentsâ counsel did not raise any objection except for Mr. Lithur to say: âI am making some reservations about the list,â and for Mr. Tsikata to say there were âtyposâ that needed to be corrected.
The court then overruled Mr. Lithurâs objection regarding the âcategories sessionâ on the list which he identified when he expressed the âreservationâ and ordered the typos to be rectified.
Mr. Addison then asked Dr. Bawumia to address the accusation by Mr. Tsikata that the petitioners deliberately selected violations, irregularities and malpractices from polling stations in the strongholds of President Mahama but just as the witness answered, Mr. Lithur objected again.
The First respondentâs counsel argued that when the question was posed during cross-examination, Dr. Bawumia denied it categorically and that there was no ambiguity which needed re-examination.
Mr. Addison pointed out that the respondents were attacking the credibility of the witness and also bad faith had been raised by Mr. Tsikata and Dr. Bawumia needed to clear the air once and for all.
The court in a 6-3 majority decision with Justices Julius Ansah, Rose Owusu and Annin-Yeboah dissenting, sustained the objection.
Mr. Addison again asked Dr. Bawumia to explain to the court the methodology used in concluding his analysis since during cross-examination the witness had been attacked by the respondents for padding pink sheets to make up the numbers.
Mr. Lithur objected saying that it was a matter for examination-in-chief which the petitioners failed to do and were seeking to introduce it at re-examination stage while Mr. Tsikata said âthe courtâs function cannot be seized. Issues of methodology are completely irrelevant.â
Mr. Quarshie-Idun, for his part, said âthis is not a matter for re-examination but a matter for addresses,â but Mr. Addison replied that padding of pink sheets was raised in cross-examination and did not come up during examination-in-chief.
âHe has been called dishonest when he insisted there was no double-counting. This is the opportunity to clear the air,â Mr. Addison argued.
The court, in a 5-4 majority with Justices Jones Dotse, Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, Annin-Yeboah and Sulley Gbadegbe dissenting, sustained the objection.
In the latter stages of the proceedings, there was a near clash between the bench and Mr. Addison when he said the court was compelling him to âtruncateâ his re-examination.
The court had unanimously ruled that a document Mr. Addison sought to tender in respect of re-categorisation of some of the exhibits could not be tendered and was subsequently marked as âRejectedâ.
However, Mr. Addison was of the opinion that once the court had earlier in a 5-4 majority overruled the respondentsâ counsels objection to the re-examining of the re-categorisation of some of the exhibits that the witness said were mislabelling during cross-examination, he was seeking leave of the court to get the right document to tender in evidence.
Justices Atuguba, Sophia Adinyira, Sulley Gbadegbe and Vida Akoto-Bamfo dissented.
The court later unanimously sustained an objection to the tendering of the document in respect of re-categorisation of some of the exhibits because it said the document bore no exhibit number and respondentsâ counsels had been able to convince the court that allowing the document to go in would mean an introduction of evidence through the back door.
Counsel: My lords, this issue has been ruled on by the court. It will amount to re-arguing the same old point. We talk of re-categorisation; this is a list which shows the new category and the old category, the region, the constituency, the polling station, polling station code and serial number. I donât know what else they want to be there. We say that we are showing the re-categorisation and that is exactly what has been done in this document. We have argued at length on this, your lordships have gone in, you come back; youâve ruled on it, you are still taking up objections to it, it would be endless.
Mr. Lithur: My lords, itâs the exhibit number that are re-categorised, there is no exhibit numberâŚ
Justice Rose-Owusu: Mr. Addison, I thought your question was which polling stations that are affected by your re-categorisation, so it is not the whole of the pink sheets that they are talking about. So as he is saying, at least you must indicate exhibit and the polling stations which have been moved from one category to another.
Counsel: My lords, that is what is shows; that is what it doesâŚ.(Judges confer again) This is our document and we wish to tender it through the witness and we have indicated the categorisation, we canât maintain the old exhibit numbers because the category has changed and this is what we have indicated on thisâŚ.My lords, if the court would like us to put the old exhibit number on them, we would do thatâŚ(Mr. Quarshie-Idun, agreed with the suggestion for exhibits to be affixed with exhibit numbers. Mr. Lithur drew attention to the fact that the situation has implication on peopleâs votes, judges consulted and eventually, Justice Atuguba read the ruling)
Justice Atuguba: By unanimous decision, the objection is sustained.
Counsel: My lords, so what does that mean, we have to provide the exhibit numbers?
Justice Atuguba: When an exhibit is tendered and rejected or rejected, it has to be marked âtenderedâ and ârejectedâ.
Counsel: My lords, we made the offer to put in the exhibitsâŚ
Justice Atuguba: That oneâŚ (laughs and counsel interrupts)
Counsel: This court has ruled that we can ask these questions [about the re-categorised list]Â and if there is any dissatisfaction with the manner in which it has been done, it can be corrected because this would amount to over-ruling your earlier ruling which gave us the right.
Justice Atuguba: Not at all, we allowed you to follow suit properly and you didnât follow properly so that is it.
Counsel: But, my lords, we are talking of substantial justice here; this court has said that we can give evidence on the re-categorisation and there is an issue about exhibit numbers. We are praying that the court gives us leave so that tomorrow, we would bring another list with the exhibit numbers. This is in the interest of justice.
Mr. Tsikata: My lords, counsel for petitioners had the opportunity to tender, we raised an objection, it has been sustained. He had indicated before lunch that he will end his re-examination. My lords, we are not in the world of Houdini, I do not think that we should entertain this shuffling of things without any specific references and thatâs what your lordships have ruled.
Counsel: My lords, we are seeking to come back tomorrow first thing in the morning to tender in the document with the exhibit numbers. As regards the re-categorisation, this court has ruled, and has ruled that we can give evidence on thatâŚ.
Justice Atuguba: Apart from this, do you have any further questions in your re-examination?
Counsel: My lords, subject to this [re-tendering the re-categorisation exhibits], we would end our re-examinationâŚ.
Justice Atuguba: In these circumstances, because the matter has been ruled upon, that ends the proceedings of re-examination.
Counsel: No, my lords, thatâs not the end of the re-examinationâŚ
Justice Atuguba: But you said subject toâŚ
Counsel: Well, my lords, there was a ruling in this court allowing us to lead evidence on the re-categorisation. As it is now, through the back door, we have been denied that right. The same right given to us has been taken away and therefore, we cannot say that we have ended re-examinationâŚ
Justice Atuguba: Well, our view is that this is ended because your last question was about this tendering and the ruling on it closes the matter. You said subject to tendering the document, which we have ruled on. So for us, we have closed the matter.
Counsel: My lords, in view of the present ruling, we think that it is only fair that we are allowed, in the interest of justice, to carry on with our re-examination; unless of course the court is curtailing our right to re-examination.Â Are we to take it that our re-examination has been curtailed by the court?
Justice Atuguba: Mr. Addison, we have ruled that following our understanding of what you did. You said you have just one question.
Counsel: No, I didnât say I have one last question, I said subject to the ruling of the courtâŚ
Justice Atuguba: Yes, and the ruling of the court âŚ(Addison interrupts)
Counsel: The court ruled in our favour and somehow through the backdoor, that ruling has been negatedâŚ.
Justice Atuguba: What rulingâŚ
Counsel: In that ruling, the court gave us the right to go on with leading evidence in the re-categorisation and somehow, itâs been negated.
Justice Atuguba: Look, I think that we have tried to be tolerant, but we cannot take dictation from the barâŚ.
Counsel: My lords, we are not dictating to the bench, we are asking for leave from the court. If this document has been refused to go in, we would like to lead evidence on the issue of the re-categorisation because the document that we are going to tender in support of our case has been refused now, thatâs all we are asking for. We are not dictating to the benchâŚ.
Justice Atuguba: (On top of his voice) Mr. Addison, we have ruled, we heard all that you said and we have explained to you that if you had retreated, we would have probably considered that, but you did notâŚ.
Counsel: So the court is curtailing our re-examination?
Justice Atuguba: We have not curtailed, we have gone according to your undertakingâŚ
By William Yaw Owusu & Raphael Ofori-Adeniran
Alhaji Ibrahim Mobila, a former cadre who is nursing the ambition of becoming the Northern Regional Chairman of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), says Trade and Industry Minister, Haruna Iddrisu is not sponsoring his campaign.
Reports say the activities of Alhaji Mobila are being financed by Hon Iddrisu, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale South.
He has also denied campaigning ahead of the partyâs regional delegateâs congress.
Though Alhaji Mobila disclosed his intention to contest for the position, he said he was awaiting official directives from the partyâs headquarters in Accra before he would officially declare his stance.
In a press release copied to DAILY GUIDE on Wednesday, he noted that he was capable of financing his campaign.
According to him, he has been in business for the past decades but ventured into politics to help support humanity for a positive change.
In that regard, he disclosed that his intention to contest for the regional chairmanship position of the NDC was borne out of the desire to serve the people.
âAs a cadre, I believe in the rules that established the party and will abide by it,â he noted.
Explaining further, Alhaji Mobila said the NDC in the Northern Region has over the past few years experienced several humiliating defeat in many constituencies which hitherto were held by NDC.
He called for a new leadership to improve the fortunes of the party since they risk losing more seats in 2016.
He made reference to the loss of 11 seats in the region in the 2012 elections.
Alhaji Mobila promised to recapture all 11 seats when given the opportunity to steer the affairs of the NDC in the Northern region.
Alhaji Mobilla cited challenges currently facing the party and reiterated the need for principles of accountability, social justice to salvage the sinking image of the NDC.
Â From Stephen Zoure, Tamale