Hearing on election dispute case adjourned to Thursday

The Supreme Court sitting in Accra on Wednesday adjourned hearing on the ongoing election petition case to Thursday, April 25, 2013.

At the resumption of proceedings Wednesday morning, Mr Tony Lithur, counsel for President John Dramani Mahama submitted a list for exhibition, before continuing with his cross examination of Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on the issue of over voting.

Dr Bawumia, second petitioner in the case disagreed when Mr Lithur suggested that the wrong quotation of figures on the records was due to administrative error.

When Dr Bawumia was asked if there were any polling agents at centre he voted, he replied in the positive but added that they were there only as observers.

Then Mr Lithur asked whether the agents were there to do their job of observing and preventing possible impersonation.

Dr Bawumia answered saying the job of running the election was the primary responsibility of the second respondent (by inference, the Electoral Commission).

Mr Lithur presented a list of 29 pink sheets to be passed to counsel for the petitioners and later to the witness, and pointed out that number five on that list had been deleted.

When Mr Lithur eventually brought his cross examination to a close, Mr James Quarshie-Idun, Counsel for the second respondent (Electoral Commission), began his cross examination.

He took witness through the process of verification before voting, and contested the comment by the witness that the polling agent was merely an observer in the election process.

Mr Idun tendered in evidence a document titled “A Guide to Candidates and Agents” and asked witness if he had any knowledge of the document.

“I suggest to you that the comment that polling agents are observers is incorrect”, Mr Quarshie-Idun declared.

Dr Bawumia, however, insisted that polling agents were exalted observers, and that they did not have the power to run elections.

On the issue of duplicated pink sheets, Quarshie-Idun demanded from the witness how a duplicated serial number could be blamed directly for alleged election malpractices.

Dr Bawumia replied saying that the security and unique character of a pink sheet was lost when its serial number was duplicated. Without the serial number on the pink sheet, the presiding officer or whoever has access to it can fill it, thereby creating room for the manipulation of results, he stated.

“The correlation between election malpractice and duplicated pink sheet is too high to be ignored”, Dr Bawumia emphasised.

Turning to the question of alleged ghost polling stations, Mr Quarshie-Idun tendered in an affidavit filed on April 1, 2013 by lawyers of the petitioners, with a letter attached, regarding the alleged unknown polling stations.

He asked witness to read part of the letter written by the petitioners, and when Dr Bawumia had read it Mr Quarshie-Idun charged that contrary to the allegations by the petitioners that they were not aware of those polling stations, the letter attached to the affidavit indicated that the petitioners had prior knowledge of the polling stations before they filed their affidavits to the court.

Dr Bawumia stated that he was not aware of the letter but added that even if he did, it was immaterial because the codes on the 22 pink sheets presented were alien to the petitioners.

Hearing continues tomorrow, Thursday April 25, 2013.

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