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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Court Is Determining Whether There Were Irregularities Not Mislabeling

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Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, lead witness of 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 bothers on whether there were irregularities in the conduct of the December Presidential Elections and therefore that is where Counsel’s concentration should be and not mislabeling of exhibits which do not affect the analysis or the numbers the petitioners are seeking to annul.

Dr. Bawumia who is 2nd Petitioner in the case made the statement on the 9th day of his cross examination by the NDCs Tsatsu Tsikata who had spent large parts of the day and preceding days concentrating on showing to the witness mislabeling 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 mislabeling 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 mislabeling 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 mislabeling and duplications.

Dr. Bawumia acknowledged the mislabeling but informed the Counsel 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 mislabeling 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. 

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