LEGAL BRAINS @ SUPREME COURT …Who Will Win The Day?





Lead counsel of the various parties to the election petition filed before the Supreme Court (SC), challenging the validity of the declaration of John Mahama as president, yesterday exhibited their legal prowess as they tried to convince the court to accept their line of thinking.

Counsel for the petitioners, Philip Addison, led his client and star witness, Dr. Mahamudou Bawumia to give evidence as he continued his evidence-in-chief, to elaborate on their claims of allegations of irregularities in the conduct of the 2012 Presidential elections with an up-dated table of analyzed claims.

However, counsel for the three respondents, John Mahama, Electoral Commission (EC) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) objected bitterly, claiming that the witness, who is also a petitioner in the case, could not amend petitioners’ claim while in the witness box.

The objection to the tendering of the up-dated polling station analysis of claims of irregularities by petitioners was over-ruled by the court, presided over by Justice William Attuguba, noting that similar documents had already been tendered without objection.

As Mr. Tony Lithur, lead counsel for John Mahama and Mr. James Quarshie-Idun, lead counsel for EC, argued that the witness could not give evidence to documents without amending their claim, Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, lead counsel for the NDC, emphatically noted that the documents used by the witness in the witness box contravenes the affidavits that the witness had submitted to the court on oath.

Other panel members are Justices Julius Ansah, Sophia Adinyira, Rose Owusu, Jones Dotse, Anin-Yeboah, Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, Sule Gbadegbe and Vida Akoto-Bamfo.

The 2012 Presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, his running mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and Party Chairman, Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey are in court challenging the declaration of John Mahama as winner in the 2012 Presidential election by the EC.

Respondents in the petition include President John Mahama, the EC and the NDC. Continuing his evidence-in-chief, Dr. Bawumia told the court that printing two booklets with same serial numbers by the EC is an attempt of rationalizing gross malpractices during the conduct of the 2012 Presidential election.

He, therefore, rejected the EC’s assertion and explanation of printing booklets with same serial number saying, ‘It does not hold water’.

Reacting to the assertion that where biometric verification machines were faulty, other means could be taken to verify voters before casting their voted, witness noted that the law only makes room for everybody to go through the biometric verification.

Dr. Bawumia further down played the role of International Observer Missions in the conduct of the 2012 elections, describing their reports at the end of the election, as irrelevant to the case before the court.

According to him, the Observer Missions were not in the position to examine and analyze the irregularities that took place during the election.

He also noted that the 331 affidavits from the NDC and John Mahama, which were served on the petitioners, do not shed much light on the case before the court, as all the documents had the same content affidavits.

The witness, who admitted the petitioners gradually reducing the number of polling stations they claimed were affected by widespread irregularities, finally settled on dealing with 11,138 polling stations in their content analysis of alleged irregularities during the polls.

He pointed out to the court that at the end of their analysis, the 2012 presidential candidate of the NPP, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, emerged the absolute winner of the polls, with over 58%, taking into account statutory irregularities such as over-voting, voting without biometric verification, and polling officers or their assistants not signing the declarations forms.

He, therefore, called on the court to declare John Mahama as not validly elected as president, and declare Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the validly elected president in the December 2012 presidential election.

Meanwhile, a cross-examination of the witness by Mr. Lithur, counsel for President Mahama, on the affidavits of the petitioners, being their claim of irregularities that took place during the polls, showed that there were duplications of same polling station with different exhibit numbers and signatories.

The documents were seemingly produced both electronically and manually by the petitioners, as their evidence of polling stations where they alleged irregularities occurred.

However, the witness assured the court that only one of the documents assigned to each polling station was used in the conduct of their analysis, adding that the duplication came as a result of a mistake done while working on thousands of pink sheet to prove their claim of electoral fraud during the 2012 presidential election.

Exhaustive as he looked, while being taken through numerous pink sheet documents from the conduct of the election, Dr. Bawumia noted, ‘no matter how hard you try, you will not find duplication’.

Nana Akufo-Addo and the two other petitioners are asking the court to annul 4, 670,504 votes, representing votes cast in 11,916 polling stations across the country, for what they termed’ gross and widespread irregularities’ recorded during the December 2012 polls.

However, the respondents have denied the assertions of the petitioners, noting that the results of the election, as declared, were credible.

Sitting adjourned to Monday, 22 April, 2013.
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