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Politics

EC, NDC don’t know about pink sheets; all they know is collation center, strong room – Former AG

Former Minister of Justice and Attorney General Ayikoi Otoo has blamed the seemingly winding election petition on the ignorance of the Electoral Commission (EC) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) with regard to pink sheets.

“For me, the problem I see that the EC and the NDC are faced with is that they have never faced the issue of pink sheets,” Ayikoi Otoo said on TV3’s weekend anaylisis show Headlines on Saturday.

“All they know is collation center and the strong room,” he added.

He argues that the EC and the NDC were caught off-guarded regarding the presentation of pink sheets as evidence in the election petition.

That is why they are finding it difficult filing a defence, he implied.

The 2008 Member of Parliament-aspirant for Krowor noted that trial would have been more expeditious if the EC had known more about pink sheets.

Greater Accra Region Chairman of the NDC Joseph Ade Coker, however, disagreed with Mr Otoo, saying that trial would proceed faster than it currently is if the first petitioner, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is dragged into the witness box, since he wants to be the president, he says.

He pointed out that the NDC government has come to stay and so the earlier NPP supporters re-orient themselves the better.

Guru

“If you talk about wanting to see Nana in the witness box, you are wasting your time,” Mr Otoo retorted.

“Deal with the guru!” he stressed referring to the petitioners’ witness-in-chief, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.

He contended that Dr Bawumia’s background as a statistician gives him an upper hand in analyzing the pink sheets of the elections.

Mr Otoo also stated that the dispute over the election results would be over if the president, John Dramani Mahama, appears in court rather than hiding behind the executive powers vested in the Attorney General.


Source: 3news.com|Ghana

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Politics

Market fires could be sabotage of President Mahama’s gov’t – Pro-NDC group

Pro-National Democratic Congress (NDC) group, Inside Ghana, has traced the spate of market fires to elements who have vowed to sabotage the presidency of John Dramani Mahama.

A statement signed by George Spencer Quaye, the group’s convener, said comments attributed to some high-profile persons in society may have triggered ill-motives by arsonists.

“We are therefore convinced beyond any shred of doubt that, these unprecedented fires are indeed arson with criminal motive. It is a deliberate act to galvanize support for a reckless narcissistic ambition of certain politicians and we can no longer afford to play the ostrich,” the statement read.

Below is the unedited statement from Inside Ghana:

Inside Ghana wishes to add its voice to the call for a full scale forensic investigation into the recent fires that have engulfed many markets in the nation especially the capital city and other State institutions. We are prevailing on the security institutions to launch criminal investigations into this spate of fires that have rendered many of our women and men homeless and left them with no livelihood or any source of income

As we count the losses, it will not be out of place to attribute the cause to ill motives of a group of persons who have sworn to make H.E President Mahama’s reign ungovernable.

Inside Ghana believes it is an arson attack and must be treated as such. Our call stems from statements of imminent personalities in our political sphere who ought to know better rather than selfishly pursuing their parochial political interest.

We would recall how on many occasions prior to and after the December elections, some politicians made known their intention unequivocally of making this nation ungovernable. “If they make the wrong move by arresting any of our officers, they will know no peace and this country will suffer for that. We are not scared to be arrested but if they try to arrest any of us we will make this country ungovernable.” Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, General Secretary, New Patriotic Party. Such unsavoury and unplalable statements have been repeated on platforms such as “Let My Vote Count Alliance” whose members have even threatened to throw bomb in their diabolic quest to bastardize State institutions.

We are therefore convinced beyond any shred of doubt that, these unprecedented fires are indeed arson with criminal motive. It is a deliberate act to galvanize support for a reckless narcissistic ambition of certain politicians and we can no longer afford to play the ostrich.

Inside Ghana therefore calls on the state security agencies to launch a full scale forensic investigation into what is gradually becoming a potent weapon for oppression.

Signed

George Spencer Quaye


Source: 3news.com|Ghana

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Politics

Election Petition will be over by “first week in July” – Lawyer

The Election Petition will be over by the first week in July, Dr Maurice Ampaw, President of the Legal Advocacy Foundation has predicted.

He also conjectured that Tsatsu Tsikata, the lead counsel of the third respondent, will be done with his cross-examination by Wednesday, May 22, 2013.

Speaking on TV3’s Midday Live on Friday, Dr Ampaw indicated that the judges’ adaptation in hearing will see proceedings expedited.

“The judges are now managing the case very well,” he told Portia Solomon.

“They are looking at the relevance of the questions [posed during cross-examination],” he observed.

Dr Ampaw noted that keenness of the judges to prevent counsel from repeating questions will see the case over and done with by July.

Many have criticized Mr Tsikata for “delaying” the process with his cross-examination and by Dr Ampaw’s prediction, Wednesday will be his 14th day of interrogation.

He pointed out that Mr Tsatsu as a lawyer wants to puncture evidence submitted by the second petitioner and so: “We should not try to gag him”.


Source: 3news.com|Ghana

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Politics

I will accept verdict of Supreme Court, Akufo-Addo tells Otumfour

The 2012 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has reiterated his commitment to maintain and support the peace prevailing in the country and also accept the outcome of the election petition before the Supreme Court

According to Nana Akufo-Addo, NPP members and supporters will not indulge in any action that will destabilise the country.

Speaking during a courtesy call on him by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, at his residence, Nana Akufo-Addo said, the good record of the NPP is there to show that they are a peace-loving party, and has always accepted the outcome of elections organized by the Electoral Commission.

He however pointed out that, the party decided to go to court this time round because of the widespread irregularities that characterized the 2012 December general elections.

Flanked by his wife, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, Dr. Bawumia, Party Chairman Jake Obetsebi Lamptey and a host of other party officials, Nana Akufo-Addo said, the irregularities that characterized the 2012 December general elections could not make the results a true reflection of the will of Ghanaians.

“We respect and believe in the Supreme Court, that is why we have petitioned them and we will accept any decision or verdict they make,” he said.

Nana Addo also called on other parties involved in the case to also abide by the decision of the court.

Before Nana Akufo-Addo’s remarks, Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II had urged him to accept whatever the outcome of the election petition before the Supreme Court would be.

Otumfuo also asked him to prevail on his supporters and followers to accept the result – whether in his favour or not – in the interest of the nation.

The Asantehene indicated that he will support any decision made by the Justices at the Supreme Court.

According to him, should there be any change of government as a result of the court ruling, the triumphant party will receive his full backing.

Otumfuo is in the capital with a delegation of chiefs for a democracy lecture organized by the National Commission on Civic Education. He was accompanied by more than sixty of his sub- and paramount Chiefs in the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo Regions.

Source: NPP Communications Directorate

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Politics

Prez Mahama nominates Mr. Sorogodoo as DCE

President John Dramani Mahama has, in accordance with Section 243 (1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and Section 20 (1) of the Local Government Act 1993, Act 462, nominated Mr. Alhassan Mohammed Sorogodoo as the District Chief Executive for the Sagnarigu District Assembly in the Northern Region.

This is contained in a statement issued by Akwasi Opong-Fosu, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development and Member of Parliament for Amenfi East Constituency.

 
Source: 3news.com|Ghana

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Politics

NDC branch Chairman killed in road crash

The Kokote branch Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Offinso Constituency, Mr Kwasi Addai, popularly known as “Joe Louis” was on Tuesday killed in a road crash.

A motorbike, he was riding, run into an on-coming vehicle at Adukuro on the Kumasi-Techiman road.

The deceased, reportedly was on his way to a party’s meeting at Koforidua near Abofour, when the accident occurred.

The Offinso Police confirmed this to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) and said they were investigating.

The body has since been deposited at the Offinso Saint Patrick’s Hospital mortuary.

Mr Addai, 69, is survived by a wife and two children.


Source: GNA

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Politics

Justice Kpegah to open fresh case against Nana Addo; accuses CJ of complicity in dismissal of his writ

Retired Supreme Court Justice Francis Yaonasu Kpegah has stated that he will open a fresh case against 2008/2012 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

According to him, his earlier writ filed at the Fast Track High Court, was dismissed because the Chief Justice, Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, instructed it so.

In a statement released on Tuesday, May 14, 2013, Justice Kpegah openly accused the General Legal Council, the Judiciary and the Ghana Bar Association of going “hell bent on defending NANA AKUFO-ADDO in the suit I instituted against him at the Fast Track Division of the High Court.”

He cited that an inscription at the premises of the courts – ‘JUSTICE IS NOT FOR SALE’ – seem to have given way to ‘JUSTICE IS FOR SALE to the highest bidder’ in the current system.

The former Supreme Court judge threatened to make stunning revelations if the independence of the judiciary is not sustained.

“I hope they will maintain the independence required by the ethics of our profession. They should not push me to the wall to make a number of damning revelations that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.”

He observed that Nana Addo, instead of filing a defence to his writ, rather applied to have the case struck out.

“For the record, the defendant, Nana Akufo-Addo NEVER filed a defence to my statement of claim. He simply had no defence to the fact that he was never duly called to the Ghana Bar. He, however, filed an application to strike out the action as frivolous, vexatious, an abuse of the process and disclosing no reasonable cause of action,” Justice Kpegah stated.

Accusing Chief Justice Georgina Wood of having a hand in dismissing the case, Justice Kpegah said one Lawyer Ebow Dawson, a “loud mouth of the NPP”, was overheard in a drinking bar in Cape Coast boasting that “they” have colluded with Chief Justice Wood to have the case dismissed.

“He stated emphatically, that ‘they’ had pre-arranged with Her Ladyship the Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood to put Justice Mrs Cecilia Sowah on my case so they can expose her relationship with the Vice President, Amissah Arthur. It is an open secret that the presiding Judge, Justice Mrs Cecilia Sowah is a sibling of His Excellency the Vice President. The Chief Justice, Her Ladyship Georgina Theodora Wood thus colluded with the Defendant, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his agents in order to set up this innocent Judge and thereby create the impression that the ruling government is behind this suit,” he alleged.

“The complicity of the Ghana Bar Association in trying to protect NANA AKUFO-ADDO is there for all to see. To start with Lawyer Frank Davies whose law firm entered appearance for and on behalf of, NANA AKUFO-ADDO is the chairman of the Accra Regional Branch of the Ghana Bar Association. How can such a person who should be interested that professional standards are not compromised at the Bar, be the lawyer for NANA   ADDO   DANKWA   AKUFO-ADDO,” Justice Kpegah’s statement said.

Describing the case as ‘Thriller in Manila’, Justice Kpegah stated that he is determined to see to the logical conclusion of the case so that “the world will one day remember me as an upright man who against all odds maintained that professional ethics should not be sacrificed for the convenience of one man.”


Source: 3news.com|Ghana

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Politics

The Court is determining whether there were irregularities not mislabeling – Bawumia

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, lead witness to the petitioners in the ongoing Presidential Election Petition hearings has reminded Counsel for the 3rd respondents, National Democratic Congress (NDC), Tsatsu Tsikata that the issues the Supreme Court is determining border on whether there were irregularities in the conduct of the December Presidential Elections.

According to Dr Bawumia, that is where the Counsel’s concentration should be and not on the mislabelling of exhibits “which do not affect the analysis” or the numbers the petitioners are asking the court to annul.

Dr. Bawumia made the statement on the 9th day of his cross examination by Tsatsu Tsikata who had spent large parts of the day and preceding days concentrating on pointing out to the witness mislabelling and duplication of pink sheet exhibits submitted by the petitioners to the court.

However, as the lead witness has consistently stated, he informed the court that the mislabelling and duplication of exhibits did not affect the analysis of the petitioners and that each polling station was used once in the analysis.

He also reminded the Counsel that the reason why the petition was being heard was to determine whether there were malpractices like over voting, voting without biometric verification, no signature of presiding officers or the use of duplicate serial numbers for different polling stations and that the court was not determining whether there was mislabelling in the exhibits submitted.

Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata like previous days used the sitting on the irregularity identified by the petitioners as the use of duplicate serial numbers for different polling stations and tried to suggest that in the category of exhibits identifying such polling stations, there had been mislabelling and duplications.

Dr. Bawumia acknowledged the mislabelling but informed Tsatsu that the critical issue was whether, indeed, it was the case that the polling stations listed by the petitioners to have been affected by the irregularity of duplicate serial numbers had pink sheets with same serial numbers as other polling stations which had inevitably called into question the integrity of the polls in those polling stations as the security of the sheets had been breached.

He tasked the Counsel for the NDC not to hide behind mislabelings and make accusations of double counting and to look at the analysis which showed no double counting if he was not afraid of the truth of there being no duplication or padding in the analysis as the Counsel tries to suggest.

On the significance of the occurrence of duplicate serial numbers which had been downplayed by the Counsel, Dr. Bawumia disagreed and said the issue of unique serial numbers which had been breached was very important and that till date the 2nd respondent had not been able to come out with a tenable rationale for printing two sets of pink sheets for only the presidential election and going ahead to release all two sets for the elections.

He added that the use of duplicate serial numbers was very clever and difficult to detect. He said that the issue of duplicate serial numbers could not be detected by polling agents or observers and that it was only through the use of computer programmes that the irregularity could be unearthed.


Source: NPP Communications Directorate

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Politics

Justice Atuguba averts Tsatsu, Bawumia ‘fight’

The presiding judge in hearing on the petition challenging results of the 2012 Presidential Polls, Justice William Atuguba, had to timely intervene during Tuesday’s proceedings after lead counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and witness-in-chief of the petitioners were nearly embroiled in exchange of words.

“This is not a free fight,” Justice William Atuguba intervened.

Tsatsu Tsikata had accused Dr Mahamudu Bawumia of being dishonest to the court by submitting inaccurate pink sheets to the Supreme Court.

In a riposte to Mr Tsikata, Dr Bawumia said NDC’s lead counsel was afraid of the truth and that can only be the reason why he is accusing him of being dishonest.

This drew in the presiding judge, who stated that counsel had a right, within the confines of the law, to label anyone in the witness box but it is wrong for a witness to cross-label counsel.

“My lord, with the greatest respect we must not take this likely. This witness is saying I am afraid of the truth,” Mr Tsikata complained.

This provoked the petitioners’ lead counsel, Phillip Addison, who said counsel on the other side got what he wanted because he had accused the witness several times of being dishonest.

“Don’t fight the battle beyond these confines,” Justice Atuguba advised Mr Tsikata and Dr Bawumia.

“Just limit yourselves through the extent of the fashion.”

Calm was restored for cross-examination to continue.

Meanwhile, an application filed by Mr Tsikata on Monday to cross-examine some of the petitioners’ witnesses who swore affidavit  in their evidence, has been deferred to Thursday, May 16, 2013.

Announcing the deferment date, Justice Atuguba indicated that counsel for the first and second respondents have also filed similar writs and it was appropriate for ruling to be given on a single day.


Source: 3news.com|Ghana

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Politics

EC have been economical with the truth on the motive for duplicate serial numbers – Bawumia

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, lead witness for the petitioners in the ongoing Presidential Election Petition hearings has stated that the Electoral Commission (EC) lied about the rationale for the use of duplicate serial numbers on various pink sheets during the December presidential elections, adding that the lack of truthfulness on the part of the EC exposes a mischievous motive for the printing of pink sheets with duplicate serial numbers.

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia made the statement on Monday, the 15th day of his cross examination by Counsels to the respondents in the case.

Responding to queries from counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Tsatsu Tsikata, on the duplicate serial numbers, Dr. Bawumia stated that the Electoral Commission in their response to the amended petition of the petitioners stated that they printed two sets of pink sheets with same serial numbers because they anticipated that there would be more presidential candidates in the election necessitating the use of two sheets.

Dr. Bawumia, however, described this justification as an obvious untruth as the EC printed the sheets in exactly the same format as the candidates appeared on the ballot papers meaning that the printing could only have been done after the 19th of October, 2012 when the balloting for positions on the ballot paper waas done, and by which time the EC also knew exactly how many candidates were contesting for the December Presidential Elections.

The lead witness said that this untenable justification by the EC on its use of duplicate Pink Sheets exposes the fact that there was a motive to the phenomenon other than the EC was telling the court and Ghanaians.

Dr. Bawumia also noted that the case of duplicate serial numbers was not frivolous especially because of its relation to the other categories of malpractices.

He explained to the court that, for example, 75% of all polling stations being challenged for over voting also had the use of duplicate serial numbers on its pink sheet, while 77% of all polling stations where voting without biometric verification took place also had the use of a duplicate serial number. 75% of all polling stations, according to Dr Bawumia, which were not authenticated by the presiding officer’s signature also were polling stations where a duplicate serial number was used.

“These statistics cannot be mere coincidences”, Dr. Bawumia added.

On the suggestion by Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata that the serial numbers were not security features and really insignificant, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia disagreed and said that like serial numbers used in passports, currencies etc. the serial numbers on the pink sheets were key identifiers of the polling stations.

He stressed that for the elections, it was even more key because all the other identifiers on the pink sheet, including name of polling station, polling station code, presiding officer signature and details etc. as had been mentioned by the Counsel, were all handwritten into the form and that the serial number was the only identifier of the polling station which came already embossed and which could not be tampered with easily.

Dr. Bawumia who is being cross examined by Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata for the eighth day said that the impression the EC was seeking to create that the serial numbers are insignificant was difficult to buy because money was spent on the forms and for the forms to have those unique serial numbers, adding that the serial numbers on the forms were not embossed for mere decorative purposes.

The NPP Vice-Presidential candidate for the 2012 Elections said that the petitioners were challenging the occurrence of polling stations which had duplicate serial numbers because the integrity of the process had been called into question in those polling stations.

Per the updated figures before the court, the petitioners are praying the court to annul a total of 9,921 polling stations which had the occurrence of duplicate serial numbers as well as other infractions (over voting, voting without biometric verification and no signature) in some of the cases.


Source: NPP Communications Directorate