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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

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

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Politics

Blame EC for doing a bad job, not us – Bawumia tells Tsatsu

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia on Wednesday told Lawyer for 3rd Respondents, Tsatsu Tsikata that since it was the Electoral Commission that produced the pink sheets which detail the various irregularities that occurred at various polling stations, they would be the ones who have to stand accused for doing a bad job.

Dr. Bawumia, main witness of the petitioners in the ongoing Presidential Election Petition case seeking to overturn the declaration of John Mahama as winner of the December Presidential Elections, made these comments while answering to questions from the Counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) who has been cross examining the witness for the past six days and is set to continue on Thursday.

Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata had suggested during his cross examination that the petitioners had selected some pink sheets which, in his view, showed over voting as a result of what he termed administrative and mathematical errors as part of their case in court.

However, Dr. Bawumia disagreed and pointed out to Counsel that the justification of the irregularities as errors could not hold because one could not exactly state where on the form or in the electoral process other errors occurred and that it was best for everyone to address himself to the evidence on the face of the pink sheets and avoid going into conjectures on what might have happened or what did not happen.

The lead witness for the petitioners who has been in the witness box for a total of 12days further reminded the counsel for the 3rd Respondents that if anything it is the 2nd Respondent, the Electoral Commission, that would stand accused for supervising an election riddled with irregularities or errors as the Counsel termed it and not the petitioners since it was the EC that produced those pink sheets with irregularities evident on its face.

At another point in the hearing, Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata suggested that the annulments the petitioners were seeking in court would hugely disadvantage John Mahama because the petitioners had deliberately selected polling stations where John Mahama won and were seeking to annul them and that there were more polling stations which had similar irregularities which had not been presented by the petitioners.

To this query, Dr. Bawumia explained that that could not be the case because the 11,842 polling stations the petitioners were seeking to annul were in 272 out of the 275 constituencies and thus no conclusion of selectivity could be made.

He also explained that as had been stated earlier, the petitioners had had access to and analyzed only around 24,000 pink sheets out of the 26,002 polling stations across the country and that that was the reason why the petitioners at the pretrial case requested that the Electoral Commission be made to submit all the 26,002 pink sheets.

He noted that it was possible that if the petitioners had gotten access to all 26,002 polling stations, they would have found more irregularities in more polling stations and indicated that it would be good if the NDC could also bring out new cases of such irregularities in case the party wanted to now become co-petitioners.

In all, Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata as has become trademark used a large part of the day to go through various pink sheets which he claimed did not show over voting.

The witness however justified most of such exhibits and showed to the court why such exhibits pointed to over voting in the various polling stations where they emanated from.

Source: NPP Communications Directorate

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Politics

Prez Mahama praises EC on Election 2012 feat

President John Dramani Mahama has showered praise on the country’s election-supervising body, the Electoral Commission (EC), on the successful holding of presidential and parliamentary elections in December, 2012.

According to President Mahama, the “feat” chalked by the EC was during a critical period of the country.

In an address to Parliament on the state of the nation delivered on Thursday, February 21, 2013, President Mahama intimated that the December 7/8 Elections has been adjudged as, by far, the most transparent in the history of Ghana elections.

“Mr Speaker, our recent Presidential and Parliamentary elections have been adjudged by both domestic and international observers as by far the most credible, transparent, free and fair since 1992,” he stated.

“This shows that each step of our democratic journey has been marked by improvements,” President Mahama added.

“As Ghanaians, we must be proud of this achievement. Mr Speaker, the Electoral Commission must take much of the credit for this feat.”

He explained that the EC has correctly declared winners of every one of the elections that have been held from 1992 without distorting results.

“They have conferred victory where victory was due without fear or favour in the critical periods of 2000, 2008 and 2012,” he pointed out.

“Our Electoral Commission has earned, in the process, an enviable reputation as arguably one of the best electoral institutions on the African continent,” he added.

The 2012 Elections is Ghana’s sixth since returning to multi-party democracy in 1992. Nonetheless, it is the first elections whose results is being challenged in a court of competent jurisdiction.

It is as a result of the court challenge that the Minority in Parliament failed to be present when the president delivered his maiden state-of-the-nation address on Thursday.

 

Source: 3news.com|Ghana

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Politics

IPAC decisions not binding on EC – Deputy Commissioner

Mr Amadu Sulley, Deputy Commissioner of the Electoral Commission (EC) said on Thursday that the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) has no legal backing and its main function is to deliberate, share ideas and advise on electoral matters.

He said the decisions of IPAC are not binding on the EC but the Commission takes the IPAC deliberations seriously since they could be a collective search for transparent electoral system.

Mr Sulley said this during a four-day meeting between Ugandan Political Parties with Representatives in Parliament and their Ghanaian counterparts in Accra.

The programme on the theme: “The role of Ghanaian Political Parties in Shaping and Influencing the National Agenda – Lessons from Ghana” was under the sponsorship of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and the Netherland Institute of Multi-Party Democracy.

He said whenever there was an issue and a consensus emerged from the dialogue and it was reasonable, practicable and lawful, the EC gave it the serious consideration it deserved.

He said the IPAC was made up of representatives of all registered political parties and the EC and it was structured in such a way that there were Regional Inter-Party Advisory Committee (RIPAC) and District Inter-Party Advisory Committee (DIPAC).

Mr Sulley said the Regional and District Committees were made up of the registered political parties in the Region and the District with all their meetings being chaired by the EC officers.

He said the meetings of IPAC in an election year were normally held once every month at the offices of the EC and meetings are attended by representatives of all registered political parties

Mr Sulley said IPAC meetings were chaired by the Chairman and in his absence his position was taken by one of the two deputies.

 
Source: GNA

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Petitioners submit particulars on 4,709 polling stations as EC provides number of voters abroad

The petitioners contesting the declaration of President Mahama as the winner of the December 2012 polls have submitted the names and codes of 4,709 polling stations where alleged irregularities took place.

They have also filed the names and codes of the polling stations where voting took place without biometric verification.

President John Dramani Mahama and the Electoral Commission (EC), who are the first and second respondents in the petition are expected to be served with the filed documents before the end of the week.

Pursuant to the court’s order on February 5, 2013, the petitioners are expected to submit further and better particulars on the remaining 7,207 polling stations where the alleged irregularities took place within two weeks.

The petitioners have also filed the amended petition which has increased the number of polling stations where alleged irregularities took place from 4,709 to 11,916, thereby, making 11,916, the official figure in the court’s records.

They filed the amendment following February 7, 2013 permission by the Supreme Court.

The Electoral Commission (EC), for its part, has complied with the Supreme Court orders by answering questions posed by petitioners.

The petitioners, who are the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; his running mate, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, and the Chairman of NPP, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, filed a petition at the Supreme Court, dated December 28, 2012 and noted, among other things, that irregularities recorded at 11,916 polling stations, favoured President Mahama but President Mahama and the EC have denied the claims.

Answering interrogatories posed by the petitioners, a table submitted by the EC said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs submitted a total of 2,350 as members of staff, but the EC captured a total of 705 staff during the registration process which took place between September and October 2012.

The EC explained in an answer to interrogatories posed by the petitioners and filed at the Supreme Court registry Tuesday that, 55 persons who registered in Accra, were staff serving in Ghanaian missions abroad but had returned home.

It said the list of foreign service personnel, their dependants, students on Ghana government scholarship abroad and Ghanaians working with international organisations together with the locations and proposed dates of registration was given by the EC to both the NPP and the NDC before the registration abroad took place.

“Honourable Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh (NPP) and Mr George Lawson (NDC), collected the material on behalf of their political parties in the middle of September, 2012,” adding “no voting took place outside Ghana.”

Countries and cities where registration exercise took place were London, 49; The Hague, 27; Moscow, 34; Berlin, 27; Geneva, 26; Rome, 16; Spain, 3; Cuba, 15; Washington DC, 23; New York, 55; Brazil, 13; China, 20; Seoul, 22; India, 17; Dubai, 19; Malaysia, 13, Addis Ababa, 36; Pretoria, 43; Rabat, 45; Algiers, 28; Cairo, 20; Monrovia, 27, Dakar, 21; Abidjan, 13; Bamako, 11; Abuja, 30 and Lome 7.

The Deputy Chairman in-charge of Finance and Administration of the EC, Mr Amadu Sulley, said the initial provisional figure it announced of registered voters was 13,917,366, but after the conduct of registration of foreign service officials, students abroad on government scholarship, other Ghanaians working abroad with international organisations and the late registration of service personnel returning from international peacekeeping duties, it announced that a “figure of 14,031,793 registered voters.

“This was the figure used in printing the final voters copies which were given to the political parties. Following directives from the court on decision regarding appeals from challenges and objections raised during the exhibition of the provisional voters register under C.I. 72, the number of registered voters stood at 14,031,680,” the EC stated.

According to the EC, “further directives received from the court are yet to be incorporated into the register as well as the recent registrations effected in the Kassena-Nankana District, following the order of the High Court. This will alter the total number of registered voters.

“The voters register is dynamic, not static, particularly, in this era of continuous registration as required by Regulation 9 (C. I. 72),” the EC added.

In answer to whether or not Nana Akufo-Addo or the NPP was notified of the dates of registration abroad, the EC said “the respondent is not obliged by law to allow political party representatives to be present during registration exercises but has done so, in practice, as a courtesy and to enhance transparency.

“It was open to the political parties to have their representatives present at the registration locations abroad if they had so wished,” the EC added.

The petitioners on January 31, 2013, amended their petition which they had filed on December 28, 2012, to request the Supreme Court to annul 4,670,504 valid votes cast during the election at 11,916 polling stations where alleged irregularities were recorded.

They have also introduced the claim that there were 28 locations where elections took place, which according to them, were not part of the 26,002 polling stations created by the EC.

Source: Daily Graphic

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Politics

CI 75 to be enforced in Akatsi South by-election – EC

The Electoral Commission (EC) has said that the demands of the Constitutional Instrument (CI) 75 will be fully complied with in Tuesday’s by-election to be held in the Akatsi South Constituency.

According to the EC, voters will be identified by verification machines before they cast their ballots.

Speaking on TV3 News, Sylvia Annor, the Principal Public Relations Officer of the EC, pointed out that since the CI 75 is “in vogue” it will be in full force during the by-election, which will get a Member of Parliament to replace Edward Doe Adjaho, who was endorsed by the Sixth Parliament as Speaker on January 7, 2013.

“We have CI 75 now in vogue,” said Ms Annor. “It stipulates that before you go through the process you must go through ‘The voter shall be identified through the verification machine’. Therefore the kind of rules and regulations that pertained during the recent general elections are the same rules that are going to be used for the by-election.”

Already, four candidates including an independent candidate have successfully filed nomination to contest the seat.

The New Patriotic Party did not enter a candidate because they claim it will be against a petition filed by its presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo and his running mate as well as the party’s chairman against the EC at the Supreme Court disputing the process that led to the declarartion of President John Dramani Mahama as winner of the 2012 Elections.


Source: 3news.com|Ghana

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Politics

Akufo-Addo opposes EC’s request

The presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the December 2012 general election, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has opposed the  request by the Electoral Commission (EC) for further documents in the petition contesting the results of the presidential poll.

He said the EC “ought not be permitted to employ an application for further and better particulars to compel the petitioners to disclose the nature of evidence petitioners intend to lead during the trial”.

The EC filed a motion on January 15, 2013 praying the Supreme Court to direct the petitioners to furnish it with “further and better” particulars of polling stations the alleged irregularities took place.

But Nana Akufo-Addo, who is one of the petitioners challenging the declaration of President Mahama as the winner of the polls, in an affidavit in opposition dated January 21, 2013, prayed the court to dismiss the EC’s request.

Hearing of the EC’s motion for further particulars has been set for January 29, 2013.

The petition to the Supreme Court, dated December 28, 2012, filed by Nana Akufo-Addo; his running mate, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, and the Chairman of the NPP, Mr Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, stated, among other things, that irregularities recorded at 4,709 polling stations favoured President Mahama.

According to the affidavit in opposition, the EC already had in its possession originals of the declaration forms and for that reason it was needless for it to request for further particulars from the petitioners.

According to the petitioners, 24,000 of the pink results sheets from some polling stations indicated that those irregularities were enough to affect the outcome of the presidential election, but the EC has denied the claims, describing the election results as credible and accurate.

Joined to the petition is the winner of the presidential polls, President Mahama, who has also denied the petitioners’ claims and insisted he won the election freely, fairly and in the full glare of the media, domestic and international observers.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court, in a 6-3 majority decision, Tuesday allowed the NDC to join the petition as a third respondent.

The court was of the view that “it will be in the interest of justice” to allow the NDC to join the petition, since the outcome of the case will have a direct bearing on the party.

According to the court, the fortunes of the NDC and those of the President were “tied together” and it was, therefore, important for the NDC to be allowed to join the petition to assist the court to get to the bottom of the matter.

Source: Daily Graphic

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Politics

Akatsi South by-election to have high supervision – EC

District Electoral Officer in the Akatsi South District Francis Denu says the by-election to be held in the Akatsi South Constituency on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 will witness high supervision from the Electoral Commission (EC).

He said about 25 to 30 supervisors will be deployed to monitor the by-election.

Speaking to TV3 News’ Edward Kwabi, Mr Denu said all is ready for the by-election to come off.

“We are ready,” he said on Monday.

“We are now working on materials to be taken to the various polling stations,” he added.

He said the Constituency has recorded one of the incident-free elections in the Volta Region.

According to him, the recent disputes over results of the 2012 Elections will have no effect on Tuesday’s by-elections, which was instanced by the elevation of Edward Doe Adjaho to the position of Speaker of Parliament.

He immediately announced his vacation of the seat after being sworn in on January 7, 2013.

The District Electoral Officer stressed that security has also been beefed up for the exercise.

“Security is okay,” he told Edward Kwabi. “We have been holding election security task force meetings prior to the elections.”

“I will say this election is going to have more supervision than any other.”

Last week, Principal Public Relations Officer of the EC Sylvia Annor stated that CI 75 will be fully enforced in the by-elections, which will be the first of two to be held in the Volta Region in February.

‘Sweeping votes’

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has held the seat, which was formerly referred to as the Avenor-Ave Constituency, since 1992.

The party’s parliamentary candidate in Tuesday’s by-elections, Bernard Ahiafor, has sent strong indications that the seat will be retained by the party.

“So far campaign has been successful,” he told Edward Kwabi.

“It [Akatsi South Constituency] is going to be retained,” he stressed.

He said the party will be “sweeping votes” in the by-elections.

“I want everybody to know that we won’t leave.”

Vote for change

Meanwhile, the Progressive People’s Party’s candidate, Anthony Tsikata, one of the three challenging the NDC for the seat, was confident his manifesto has so appealed to the electorates that they will vote for change in his favour.

“The people need a change and the PPP man will emerge the winner,” Mr Tsikata said

“My campaign promises to the people out there show that they support me.”

Source: 3news.com|Ghana