Mahama And NDC Fumbling At Supreme Court

Feature Article of Friday, 19 April 2013

Columnist: Sarpong, Justice

… And Batting 0 For 2

I have tried to stay away from writing anything about the election lawsuit going on at the Supreme Court since I am not a Lawyer and case is being televised for the benefit of all to judge without anybody putting a slant to it but Lawyer Lithur’s disrespectful attitude and repetitive submissions and making the case boring made me re-examine my decision. My decision was also informed by witnessing the so called lawyer extraordinaire Tsatsu Tsikata objecting to two Petitioners submissions and losing both. He talked for almost three minutes on the second objection whilst his two colleagues used about fifteen seconds each to explain why they were objecting.Tsatsu trying to impress the gallery with his falsely accorded brialliant legal mind without any record to back it up went on and on and still lost the ruling.

The NPP and Nana Akuffo Addo lawsuit against the EC, President Mahama and the NDC got underway on Tuesday April 16th of the year 2013 with fireworks provided by Lawyer Tony Lithur an obnoxious, ill-tempered, ill-mannered and quick-tempered crass lawyer who needs to hone his court manners especially when arguing cases at the highest court of the land. He kept shouting at the Petitioners Witness when he fails to elicit the answers he want.

The NPP Petitioners opened its court case by enumerating various categories of voting irregularities that happened during the December elections which favoured the acting President at the time, President Mahama and is praying to the court to void or make corrections that if granted will make Nana Akuffo Addo the President or atthe minimum, a re-run should be done since both candidates did not attain the 50%+1 needed to become the President of the country.

Dr Bawumiah, the NPP Vice Presidential candidate and the second Petitioner in this case was called to the stand on the second day of the hearings and he explained the reasons why the Petitioners are in court;

“Dr. Bawumia tells the court he is in the witness box today because the declaration made by the second respondent, Electoral Commission in the 2012 elections cannot be supported by the primary evidence he has gathered as the chairman of the committee tasked to investigate alleged irregularities in the 2012 elections.He says as head of committee he received thousands of irregularities on statement of polls and declaration of results known as pink sheets. We found numerous malpractices and statutory violations and irregularities as evidenced in the primary record of the elections at the polling station called pink sheets.It is the record on which basis the second respondent declared results for Mahama.”

In the course of presenting his case, Dr. Bawumiah was explaining to the court why some of the votes should be rejected and said that there are two types of over voting. After explaining the first type of over voting, he proceeded to explain the second type of over voting by saying;The second type of over voting is what the EC chairman was very clear on before the elections. He quotes the EC chair as saying that if even one vote is seen to have exceeded the number of ballot papers issued, the results of the polling station will be annulled.Dr.Bawumia decides to lead material evidence in the over voting he has been talking about when all the Counsels for the Respondants objected to the introduction of his evidence on the grounds that, material facts Dr. Bawumia is about to lead in evidence was not pleaded in the petition and therefore wishes the court to stop the witness from going into it. The Judges took a break and came back with its decision:

“Court returns after short recess and witness Bawumia is reminded of his oath.

Objection over ruled

Court overrules the objection by the respondents.”

The third day of the trial continued with Petitioners Counsel leading the Second Petitioner, Dr. Bawumiah in evidence.

“Counsel leads witness into the affidavits filed by the second petitioner (EC) and seeks his responses.

1041 Counsel: Have you seen affidavits of the respondents?

Bawumia: Yes I have seen the affidavits. Except for the names of deponents all of affidavits are the same and none of them addresses the issues. Addison: How many polling stations did you look at in your observation.

Bawumia: 11,138. Witness asks if he could refer to his notes.

Counsel for the NDC, Tsatsu Tsikata requests that he provides the court with the notes he will be refreshing his mind with. Bawumia does so. Bawumia goes ahead with his evidence and says he had to reduce the number of polling stations from 11 842 to 11, 138 because of challenges with a little over 500 pink sheets.

1055 Counsel asks if his variations in the number of polling stations will have an effect on the evidence he gave yesterday.

Bawumia admits there will be change in figures but insists those changes are insignificant and will not affect the germane issues raised yesterday. He says for-instance that some 251,000 votes have been affected by the change and therefore instead of John Mahama having 39 per cent as he said yesterday, he would now have 40.29 per cent. And Nana Addo the first petitioner would now have 58 per cent instead of the 59 per cent figure he provided yesterday.

1100 Tsatsu Tsikata demands that witness presents to the court the updated documents he has been quoting from in the witness box.

Counsel for the EC Quarshie Idun also raises objection. He says the figures being provided by the witness is a variation of what he had early on presented to them. Bawumia tenders in evidence the updated version of the documents. “

Counsels for the Respondants, Tsatsu Tsikata, Tony Lithur and Quarshie-Idun raised an objection to the evidence they have requested themselves which the Judges took a recess to deliberate on and came back with;

“1210 Court returns from recess. Judges overrule the objection raised by the lawyers for the respondents.”

If you want to keep scores, NDC is batting o for 2 now. Tsatsu tried to hit a 100 miles fastball thrown by Addison and whiffed badly at the wind. Another curling curveball thrown to Tony Lithur and he was caught looking.

Lawyer Addison finished his examination of his witness and turned him over to the Respondants Counsel and Lawyer Lithur starts his cross examination by trying to impeach Dr Bawumiah of trying to use double counting to inflate his voting irregularities numbers by using two numbers for one polling station.

Tony Lithur is up to begin his cross examination.

Lithur presents one of the pink sheets with the NBP 1297 and asks if the witness can identify it. He presents another NBP 1299 and ask if the witness can identify same. Lithur accuses the witness of using the same pink sheets but with different numbers. Bawumia denies it is a repetition and asks for a CDROM for confirmation. Lithur insists Bawumia did not use a CDROM in providing his evidence an therefore does not need a CDROM to provide answers to his cross-examination.

Tony Lithur continued to show in evidence of many such one polling station with double numbers tendered into evidence by Petitioners in their affividavits which Dr. Bawumiah explained away as not having anything to do with the analysis he has presented to the court which will be explained later. According to Dr Bawumiah, Using manual pink sheet numbers for a polling statiion and a computer generated polling station number to show that he is trying to do double is not true and the analysis of the numbers submitted does not show any double counting.

The Court stepped in and ask Tony Lithur to stop this repetition in his line of cross examination and says if it the case counsel wants to attack the credibility of the figures provided he could do so.

The above was what I was going to ask if the court cannot step in and stop this boring repetitive questioning since he has proved his point and move on but it seems this is part of the grand scheme of the Ndc to prolong this trial as they said they have lined up more than 8,000 Witnesses. It remains to be seen if the court will even allow more than fifty people to come and repeat the same Ndc sing song.

Justice Sarpong