Counsel for the Petitioners in the ongoing Presidential Election Petition has given what analysts have described as “an inkling into how the December 2012 elections were potentially rigged for the 1st Respondent”, John Dramani Mahama, by officials of the Electoral Commission.
In his oral address, Philip Addison first and foremost stated that the difference of votes between the 1st petitioner, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and his parliamentary candidates was a mere 16 votes. Whilst Nana Addo obtained 5,248,898 votes, parliamentary candidates of the New Patriotic Party obtained 5,248,882 votes in total.
On the other hand, John Dramani Mahama obtained 5,574,761 votes whilst parliamentary candidates of the National Democratic Congress obtained 5,127,641 votes, indicating a difference of 447,121 votes.
According to Mr Addison, though the NDC currently has a majority in Parliament, NPP parliamentary candidates obtained more votes than candidates of the NDC, to the tune of 118,241.
Thus, if the proverbial situation of “skirt and blouse” had occurred in the December 2012 elections, then it would logically imply that that the difference of 447,121 votes between Mahama and his parliamentary candidates could not be possible.
Unaccounted for Ballots
Mr Addison further noted that the difference between Nana Akufo-Addo and John Mahama was only 328,863 votes. This difference, in his opinion, could have been made up by the 307,107 extra ballots the Electoral Commission could not account for.
On page 91 of the address of the petitioners, they state that “Dr. Afari Gyan maintained that the total number of ballots printed for the election was 15,434,968.”
It is recalled that during cross-examination by Philip Addison, Dr Afari Gyan provided a breakdown of the ballots printed as follows: Booklets of 100 ballots – 141,597 = 14,159,700; Booklets of 50 ballots – 12,627 = 631,350; Booklets of 25 ballots – 38,041 = 951,025.
This statement by Dr Afari Gyan, according to the petitioners, was not truthful “because if one adds up the total number of ballots printed from the breakdown he provided, it amounts to 15,742,075. This figure is 307,107 higher than the 15,434,968 number he provided as the total ballots printed. In an election where the margin of difference is in the region of 320,000, Dr Afari-Gyan’s inability to account for 307,107 ballots is very significant.”
The petitioners added that Dr Afari Gyan could have printed more ballot papers than he claimed because an inordinately large number of ballots were printed relative to the number of registered voters in the 10,119 polling stations in contention.
“Summing up the ballots issued to the polling stations in column A1 of the pink sheets which petitioners are relying on results in a total number of 10,245,680. This means that if the 2nd respondent printed 15,434,968 ballots as they claim, then they only had a balance of 5,189,288 ballots for the remaining 15,883 polling stations. This would be clearly insufficient. The evidence provided by Dr. Afari Gyan is, therefore, not credible,” the petitioners contend.
Indeed, during the trial it was revealed by Dr Afari Gyan that he had printed two sets of pink sheets, but the 17 pink sheets introduced at the tail end of trial indicated that perhaps more than two sets, perhaps 4 sets, of pink sheets had been printed.
The address of the petitioners drew the court’s attention to the evasive answers Afari Gyan gave on the matter of serial numbers on pink sheets and his eventual admission that pink sheets are sensitive materials in elections and that the serial numbers on the pink sheets are the only distinguishing features between two unfilled pink sheets.
“This admission, it is respectfully submitted, supports the petitioners’ proposition that, if a person lays his hands on an unfilled or blank pink sheet, that person can fill it out with what purports to be results of polls in a polling station and the fraud perpetrated by that person will go unnoticed. This is because, as the evidence at the trial showed, the essential distinguishing factors of a polling station, i.e. polling station name and code, do not come pre-embossed. It means that in order to secure the integrity of results from a polling station or, in order to authenticate results from any polling station, the genuineness of the paper on which the results are recorded must be determinable through some means. This means, it is submitted, is through the embossment of the serial numbers on the pink sheets”, the address stated.
The petitioners explained that duplicate serial numbers were used in 8,987 out of 10,119 polling stations the petitioners are relying on (i.e. 88% of the polling stations in contention), adding that over 75% of all cases of over-voting, voting without biometric verification and the absence of signature of presiding officer occurred with the use of duplicate serial numbers.
Unaccounted Registrations in Voters’ Register
The petitioners also drew the court’s attention to the Electoral Commission’s answers to the petition and subsequent answers to queries on the voters’ register which the EC was unable to substantiate and which clearly proved the huge imperfections with the voters register.
“In its Answer to the Petition, the 2nd respondent provided an initial provisional registration figure of 13,917,366. The 2nd respondent further claimed that after the conduct of registration of Foreign Service officials, students abroad on Government of Ghana scholarship, Ghanaians working abroad in international organizations, and the late registration of foreign personnel returning from international peace-keeping duties, the figure increased to 14,158,890 registered voters. This represented an increase of 241,524 registered voters over the provisional registration figure of 13,917,366.
“The 2nd respondent added that after processing the data to include persons who had been improperly removed from the register and removing names that had been improperly added to the register, the register reduced to 14,031,793. Petitioners requested further and better particulars on the 241,524 registrations 2nd respondent claimed to have conducted of Ghanaians abroad and returning peacekeeping personnel. It is significant that the 2nd respondent was only able to provide 2,883 particulars, leaving a staggering 238,641 entries without particulars and, thus, unaccounted for in the register. It is submitted that the claim of foreign registration accounting for the 241,524 excess entries in the register, following the compilation and publication of the provisional register, was an afterthought intended to mislead this Honourable Court. Simply put, the claim that the excess of 241,524 registrations being attributable to so-called foreign registration was not borne out by the evidence led by 2nd respondent. It is yet another indication of the lack of credibility of 2nd respondent in this Petition. It is submitted that the 238,641 registrations, which could not be identified with particulars of any lawfully registered voters, provides the opportunity for infractions such as over-voting and voting without biometric verification”, the address said.
The petitioners also noted the “clear evidence” of an unreliable voters’ register produced and used by the EC for the December 2012 Elections as revealed during the cross examination of Dr Afari Gyan during the petition hearings.
The petitioners recalled the record of proceedings on June 4, 2013 when Dr Afari Gyan admitted 50 instances of multiple registrations in a register of 705 Ghanaians abroad and noted that by extrapolating the same percentage, the full register of 14,031,680 persons could have as much as 1,990,000 double registrations which clearly compromises the elections.
It was also indicated that the failure of the Electoral Commission to provide a provisional register to the New Patriotic Party and the late and piecemeal supply of the final register made it virtually impossible for any scrutiny of the register, and, thereby, contributed substantially in undermining the transparency, fairness and integrity of the December 2012 elections’.
The EC, it would be recalled, furnished the NPP with the final voters’ register from November 19 to December 2, 2012 (4 days to the Election).