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General News of Thursday, 24 January 2013

Source: Daily Graphic

Election Petition: Mahama requests further particulars on 4,709 polling stations

President John Dramani Mahama is praying the Supreme Court to order the petitioners challenging his declaration as the winner of the December 7, 2012 presidential polls to provide "further and better" particulars on the 4,709 polling stations where election irregularities allegedly took place.

He is pleading with the court to order the petitioners to state "the name and code of each of the four thousand seven hundred and nine (4,709) polling stations where it is alleged that there were gross and widespread irregularities and/or malpractices; the constituency and the region within which each of these polling stations falls and the exact nature of the alleged irregularity and/or malpractice at each of the said polling stations".

President Mahama said the court ought to order the petitioners to supply him with particulars of the alleged irregularities "in the interest of promoting a fair, open and efficient trial" and accordingly prayed the court to strike out "all allegations and paragraphs of which the petitioners fail to give particulars".

Premising his motion on notice for further and better particulars under Rule 69 A (4) of the Supreme Court (Amendment) Rules, 2012 (CI 74), the President is making additional request for the total number of polling stations and/or constituencies where votes cast in favour of the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, were unlawfully reduced.

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

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.

They are, accordingly, requesting the court to annul results declared in the polling stations where the alleged irregularities were recorded.

But the Electoral Commission (EC), which organised the elections, has denied the claims and insisted the results declared were accurate and credible. But President Mahama is urging the court to order the petitioners to provide the name and code of each polling station where it was alleged that different results were "strangely recorded on the declaration forms (otherwise known as 'pink sheet' or 'blue sheet') in respect of polling stations bearing the same polling station codes".

The motion, which was filed on the President's behalf on January 22, 2013, is further urging the court to order the petitioners to state the number of votes cast in favour of Nana Akufo-Addo in the said polling station and/or constituency, as well as the total number of polling stations and/or constituencies where votes cast in favour of President Mahama were alleged to have been "illegally padded".

He is seeking an order directed at the petitioners to furnish the court with "the identities, offices and, if applicable, political affiliation or other connection to any of the parties herein of the persons who it is alleged illegally padded the results" in his favour.

"The identities, offices and, if applicable, political affiliation or other connection to any of the parties herein of the persons who it is alleged "unlawfully reduced" the results of the 1st Petitioner" is also being requested by the President.

President Mahama, who insists he won the elections freely and fairly in the presence of the media, domestic and international election observers, is asking the court to order the petitioners to cite "the name and code of each polling station, constituency and region where it is alleged that voting took place without biometric verification", as well as the number of voters in each polling station who voted without biometric verification.

The applicant is further urging the highest court of the land to state the name and code of each polling station, constituency and region where voters allegedly voted without undergoing biometric registration, among others.

Touching on allegations that Superlock Technologies Limited (STL) allegedly tampered with election results, the President is asking the petitioners to "state in what manner it is alleged that the election results were tampered with through the involvement of STL in respect of which polling stations and constituencies and how many votes are alleged to have been so tampered with in relation to each".

Included in the President's request are the name and code of each polling station where it was alleged that there were no signatures of the presiding officers or their assistants on the declaration forms, as well as mention the names of polling stations where it was alleged that there was over voting.

An additional information being requested by the President is "how the allocation of votes to be annulled as between candidates was determined and how many such votes are attributed to each affected polling station".

An affidavit in support of the motion deposed on President Mahama's behalf by his Campaign Co-ordinator, Mr Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, said he had the consent and authority of the President to swear to the affidavit.

The affidavit in support said under the applicable rules of procedure, the court had the power to order a party to supply particulars of facts material to its claim and to the reliefs it sought to an opposing party in the interest of promoting a fair, transparent and efficient trial.

"I am advised by counsel and verily believe that whenever a party's pleadings allege matters such as irregularity and malpractice, the facts supporting these must be stated with particularity," the affidavit in support pointed out.

It argued that how the petitioners arrived at the number of votes they seek to have nullified added to or subtracted from those declared for President Mahama were all material in determining whether or not there was a basis for the reliefs sought by the petitioners.

The affidavit in support pointed out that "no vote can be nullified more than once even if multiple irregularities were established in respect of that particular vote and that it is necessary for the petitioners to clarify, by providing particulars, whether or not the multiple permutations of irregularities/malpractices they allege involve a claim to have any votes nullified more than once".

It argued that where allegations or imputations of fraud or misconduct were attributed to "a party or to persons alleged to be acting on his or its behalf, that party ought to be provided with precise particulars of the acts alleged and the basis on which they are attributed to him or it and that given the allegations that the petitioners make, they ought to be ordered to supply the particulars sought with respect to these allegations" in order to prevent an ambush litigation.

The motion will be moved on January 29, 2013, the same day the EC is also expected to move its application for further and better particulars.

In another development, the petitioners have amended the title of their petition to include the NDC as the third respondent and have since served it on lawyers for the President.

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