General News of Thursday, 18 April 2013
Source: Joy Online
Tony Lithur, lead counsel for the first respondent-President John Mahama- in the election petition case has accused chief witness for the petitioner of deliberately producing duplicate copies of pink sheets to deceive the court.
According to him, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia deliberately repeated polling stations to shore up figures to back his claims and the claim by the two other petitioners that the second respondent, which is the Electoral Commissioner erred in declaring John Mahama winner of the 2012 polls.
In a cross-examination that lasted well over four hours, Lithur produced copies of pink sheets presented by the petitioners which he said had different exhibit numbers but from the same polling stations.
Lithur repetitively and laboriously named the various polling stations named by the petitioners and which had the deficit of double exhibit numbers and pointed out to the witness and to the court what he claims were a deliberate scheme of duplication.
One of the judges drew the attention of the counsel that he had exceeded his “statute of limitation” and should begin to round up on his long crusade of double exhibit numbers for the same polling stations.
After submitting seven more of those pink sheets with the same deficits Lithur pointed out “I suggest to you that you deliberately duplicated these pink sheets to deceive the courts.”
The witness in chief of the petitioner however retorted “I suggest to you that I did not deceive the court,” an answer which drew a loud laughter from the spectators who had earlier been warned by one of the judge to be civil or will be thrown out.
Dr Bawumia confirmed that even though the exhibit numbers were different for the same polling station as pointed out by the counsel for the first respondent, figures for each polling station were only entered once in his analysis.
He said the different exhibit numbers came about as a result of manual recording and electronic recording.
According to him, when compiling figures of irregularities of 11,138 polling stations they realized it was laborious doing it manually and with the limited time they had to submit their affidavits, they had to then adopt an electronic system of recording and that generated the different numbers for the same polling stations.
He was emphatic however that the figures for each polling station were only entered once in the analyses and not twice or thrice as the counsel is suggesting.
There were fireworks early on when the witness decided to tender in documents which sought to reduce the total number of polling station where the alleged irregularities were committed.
According to Bawumia, due to some challenges and quality controls on the pink sheets, they have had to reduce the total number of polling stations from 11,800 to 11,138.
Whilst admitting that the reduction slightly affected the figures presented to the court the day before, he was quick to add that it did not significantly alter the foundation of their case and Nana Addo would still have won anyway.
But counsel for the first respondent Tony Lithur objected to the tendering of the document and insisted that the witness and his counsel amend their document.
The objection was vehemently supported by Counsel for the EC, Quarshie Idun and that of the NDC, Tsatsu Tsikata.
Tsikata averred that ethics of the bar must be upheld and the petitioners must go back to amend their petition.
Philip Addison however strenuously disagreed, saying, they were not amending their case but rather abandoning some of the figures they had early presented.
The judges had to take a short break and when they returned they overruled the objection by lawyers for the respondent.
The case has been adjourned to Monday, April 22, 2013.