After the premature ending of day four of cross-examination of Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan over issues of mislabeled pink sheet exhibits, hearing returns Wednesday, with Petitioners’ counsel, Philip Addison taking the star witness of the second Respondent in the ongoing Election Petition through another round of cross examination.
The nine judges have taken their seats on the bench as the counsel for all parties gear up for another battle.
The Bar take turns to introduce their team to the court; Afari Gyan walks back into the dock and reminded of his oath.
Addison is up. He asks witness if he is aware that signatures of returning officers are mandated by law? Afari Gyan admits.
Addison probes further by asking if a declaration can be made without the EC chair’s signature. No My Lord, Afari Gyan answers.
Addison then suggests to witness that in certain places polling agents raised protests of some election irregularities but results were still announced. Afari Gyan says he won’t accept that.
Addison proceeds to provide a document to be identified by the witness.
Quarshie-Idun raises an objection. He says he exhibit before him relates to another polling station. It is the same problem they had yesterday, he adds.
Addison says the second Respondent has the pink sheet in question, albeit with a different label.
Quarshie-Idun says he has no such pink sheet. Tony Lithur and Tsatsu Tsikata join the fray with all of them complaining that they have not received any such document.
Philip Addison says it is unfair the tactics being adopted by the Respondents. He says the Petitioners as it is now do not know which exhibits have been served on the Respondents and which have not. All it takes for the Respondents is to make available a list of the exhibits they do not have so the Petitioners will make it available to them. He says this business about objecting to every single exhibit Petitioners present with the alibi that they do not have those exhibits is only a ploy to scuttle their cross examination.
Tony Lithur says counsel should not blame them because it was not their fault. They cannot go ahead if they have not been served with an exhibit.
One of the judges makes an intervention and asks counsel to be decorous in their remarks because the who world is watching and the choice of language will not be good example for children watching at home.
Presiding Judge William Atuguba also laments the behavior of counsel from all sides. He says they could easily have sorted out the exhibits before hearing began. He calls for a brief recess so the lawyers will sort out the exhibits.
The court returns.
No headway has been made thus far Addison laments. He says the Petitioners asked the Respondents to provide the list of exhibits they do not have but they refused. He says he is ready to continue with other areas but will ultimately return to those pink sheet exhibits. He says they will now seek the direction of the court on what line of action to take.
Tony Lithur says they have catalogued every list they have in their possession. He says they raise the objections not because they want to frustrate the Petitioners but it is a genuine concern they are going through.
He suspects the Petitioners are introducing new exhibits.
One of the judges asks the Respondents if it is possible to tell the Petitioners which of the exhibits they do not have.
Tony Lithur says that will be prejudicial to their case.
One of the judges again says eventually the Respondents would have to tell the court what they have and what they don’t.
Tony Lithur says handing over the list of exhibits will not necessarily solve the problem.
The Respondents suggest that the petitioners use the exhibits with the Registrar.
Petitioners accept to use those exhibits in the custody of the Registrar.
Court goes on recess.
The returns from recess.
Addison presents pink sheet exhibits for the witness to identify. Afari Gyan mentions the exhibit numbers.
Addison asks him to mention the figure in A1 which he answers 475.
Addison asks what the figure in C6 is, which he answers as 489.
Addison asks whether the C6 is an addition of C1, C2,C3,C4 to which Afari Gyan answers Yes.
Addison asks him to take 14 from C6 which Afari Gyan does and says is 475.
Addsion suggests to witness that C6 should be equal to A1, if C3 is deducted.
Afari Gyan confirms that if C3 is taken from C6 the answer is 475.
Addison goes to the next exhibit in the list and asks witness to identify it by mentioning the exhibit number and name, to which he obliges.
Addison asks witness to mention the figures in A1 and C6 to which he mentions 300.
Addison says the figure in C6 is equal to that in A1 because C3 was not added. Afari Gyan affirms.
Addison takes him through another exhibit and asks him to do the same exercise. Afari Gyan mentions the figures in A1 and C6 as 475.
Addison says the figure is 475 because C3 was not added. Afari Gyan agrees.
Addison takes witness through similar processes on other pink sheet exhibits.
Addison then suggests whereever the proper figures are entered correctly and C3 is not added the figure there will be equal to A1.
Afari Gyan says in his opinion C3 should be zero at all times.
Addison suggests further that the C3 included has been put there in error and should be C5. I disagree, Afari Gyan says.
Addison goes further by saying that certain presidential aspirants were not registered.
Afari Gyan says there are laid down requirements to be followed for one to be made a presidential aspirant and if those requirements are not followed one cannot be deemed to have satisfied all criteria.
Addison asks if signing of forms is one of the criteria, Afari Gyan affirms.
Addison goes ahead to asks witness if indeed 905 pink sheets were not signed by the Returning Officers. Afari Gyan agrees. Addison goes ahead to ask if witness can provide exactly the polling stations involved. Afari Gyan says they can provide that information by Monday.
Quarshie Idun says that information was filed in February and tells the court that the Petitioners already have the information they seek.
Addison says the documents which Quarshie Idun refers to has been amended in April and its dead and the court cannot use dead pleadings.
One of the judges asks Petitioners to, for purposes of speedy trial, use the exhibits the second Respondent claims it is in their possession.
Addison responds saying they will be the last persons to even contemplate to waste time. He says the court has already ruled that parties will not be allowed to make use of their old pleadings once amended. He says if they are to allow the second Respondent to use this particular pleadings they will not know which dead document they might want to revive in the future.
Quarshie Idun says they have not made any amendment to the particular paragraph in contention.
President of the panel Atuguba intervenes and says the amended answer is affected only to the extent of amendment adding not all issue can be obliterated merely because an amendment has been filed.
Addison returns to the issue of signature and asks witness if he said there were presiding officers who could be induced not to sign the pink sheets. Afari Gyan explains he only made that comment when the petitioners argued that all votes be cancelled in polling stations where presiding officers failed to sign.
Could the presiding officer be induced to enter wrong figures too and by who, Addison asks. Yes, Afari Gyan says and adds that interested parties could induce.
Addison: Are you aware there were polling agents signing blank pink sheets before the election actually started. I am not aware.
Not even the Metro TV footage of observers who clearly saw polling agents signing in pink sheets when voting had not began could refresh your memory? Addison asks. No i didn’t see it Afari Gyan says.
Addison: Would you say the failure to stamp a ballot paper makes that particular vote irregular. No Afari Gyan says. He adds that by circumstances, presiding officers are allowed to accept ballot papers that are not stamped.
Addison: Is there a rule that says a presiding officer has the discretion to or not accept a ballot that has not been stamped. Afari Gyan says yes.
Where in the manual is it stated that the presiding officer can accept an unstamped ballot. Afari Gyan says it is not stated anywhere but there is a general rule that says that the presiding officer takes general over sight over all that happens
Addison asks witness if names of foreign voters were duplicated in the voters register. Afari Gyan says to the best of his knowledge yes.
Addison pleads for emphasis and asks witness if he is saying that there were no duplications of names in the final voters register. Afari Gyan says the Commission did its best to delete all multiple registrations.
Addison then presents a document for witness to identify. Afari Gyan identifies it as voters register for Adaklu Constituency but says he cannot be sure if this was the same register presented.
Addison says it is the hard copy of the register which was printed from the soft copy provided by the EC. Afari Gyan says the EC provided the parties with hard copies. Addison denies that the NPP was given a hard copy.
Afari Gyan says he would have to check. Addison asks if witness is doubting the authenticity of the register before him. Witness says he will have to check first. He offers to take the register home to do the checking.
Addison resists. He says he will not allow witness to take the register home. He says if the second respondent does not trust them, they will also not trust the second respondent. He says the second respondent has so far been untruthful and he cannot trust them. The same way they do not trust him.
One of the judges questions the language of the Addison and cautions him to keep quiet when he is talking.
Addison says he is surprised at the posture and reaction by the bench because far more serious comments have been made against them including attribution of criminality to them and the bench never uttered a word.
Tempers flare as Quarshie-Idun enters the fray.
President of the Panel Atuguba says they have had enough of the mudslinging. He wipes the slate clean of all unethical behaviors by the bar and says from now they will crack the whip if a member of the Bar behaves in an unethical manner.
Addison presents another voters register and proceeds to ask questions from it.
He asks witness extract at page 45 of the register.
Addison says the register is in not in evidence and the counsel cannot asks questions from He adds
Quarshie Idun raises an objection and says the exhibit is not in evidence and so counsel cannot ask question from it.
The court accepts the two exhibits as unmarked before the court so that the witness will be able to cross check the original copy of the register before proceeding to answer the questions.
Addison asks witness if there were minors in the register. Afari Gyan says technically no.
Addison probes further to find out what witness means by technically no.
Afari Gyan says on the face of the register there was nobody with the age lower than 18 but the Commission cannot vouch if the ages of all the prospective voters are indeed correct.
Addison presents an election manual and asks witness to read. The manual stipulates that the Commission must take steps to avoid multiple registration and to avoid minors from voting.
Addison asks witness if steps were taken to clean the register of minors as the manual instructs. Afari Gyan says what is in the manual is only the ideal situation.
What is an ideal situation, Addison probes. Does that mean the manual is not a document to be relied upon, he adds. Afari Gyan says it more like an ideal democracy the petitioners so gleefully make references to.
Addison says he has not made any reference to an ideal democracy. Maybe it is the counsel to the second respondent who has made reference to the Idead democracy.
Atuguba takes serious issue with the comments. He describes it as unethical an assertion, Addison disagrees to initially but later withdraws.
There is yet another stand-off over exhibits tendered in evidence. There is back and forth over the total number of exhibits filed and served.
Case is adjourned.