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