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General News of Thursday, 14 February 2013

Source: Daily Guide

Election petition: 705 registered abroad; EC reveals

The Electoral Commission (EC) has complied with the Supreme Court order asking it to furnish petitioners challenging the declaration of John Dramani Mahama as President in the December 7 and 8, 2012 general elections, with details of the registration exercise it carried out abroad.

However, details are emerging about the figures submitted, as the total number of Ghanaians registered abroad is believed to be far lower than the figures the commission included in the declaration of the results of the general election.

So far, the EC said 705 Ghanaians registered in Ghanaian missions abroad where registration took place, whereas the Commission quoted that over 241,000 people were registered.

However, this included diplomatic staff, security persons on peace mission, students on Ghana government scholarships and Ghanaians serving with international bodies.

The EC, in its answers to the petitioners, indicated that even though it had announced initial provisional figures of 13,917,366, after the registration of Ghanaians abroad, it arrived at 14,158,890 voters; a difference of 241,524 registered voters.

The petitioners, comprising the New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate for the 2012 elections, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, his running mate Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and the party's chairman, Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, had filed an application for 'interrogatories' to get the EC to furnish them with the documents on the people registered overseas.

The particulars requested were in respect of Ghanaians serving abroad including foreign service officials, students on government scholarships abroad, Ghanaians working in international organizations and security service personnel returning on duties and the mode of registration.
The petitioners had argued that the application had been moved because of the answer given by the EC after the petition was filed.

The EC, in answer to the petition, submitted that over 200,000 votes from categories of voters registered abroad were included in the final results of the election.

President Mahama, as 2nd respondent, also affirmed what the EC had submitted in its response when he filed his answers.

Unless it filed another document detailing the names, addresses and places of registration, the list submitted by the EC in compliance with the court's order was said to be inadequate.

In the documents sighted by Daily Guide, the EC filed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented to them a list totaling 2,350 as members of staff serving missions abroad but the commission 'captured' only 705 of the number submitted between September and October 2012.

The EC further explained that 55 persons who registered in Accra were staff serving in Ghanaian missions abroad but had returned home during the elections. This was the averment of Amadu Sulley, a deputy Chairman in charge of Finance and Administration, in the EC's answers.

Overseas Votes

The locations where the registration exercises took place and the number of people who registered are as follows: London, 49; The Hague, 27; Moscow, 34; Berlin, 27; Geneva, 26; Rome, 16; Spain, 3 (all in Europe): Cuba, 15; Washington DC, 23; New York, 55; Brazil, 13 (The Americas); China, 20; Seoul, 22; India, 17; Dubai, 19; Malaysia, 13 (Asia), Addis Ababa, 36; Pretoria, 43 (East & South Africa); Rabat, 45; Algiers, 28; Cairo, 20 (North Africa); Monrovia, 27, Dakar, 21; Abidjan, 13; Bamako, 11; Abuja, 30 and Lome, seven (West Africa).

The EC insisted that before the abroad registration, it had given the NPP and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) the list of foreign service personnel, their dependants, students on Ghana government scholarships abroad and Ghanaians working with international organisations as well as their locations and proposed dates of registration.

"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," the EC declared, adding that "no voting took place outside Ghana."

Answering the petitioners' initial petition filed on December 28, 2012, the EC, on January 7, through their lawyers Lynes Quarshie-Idun & Co and copied to Akufo-Addo, Prempeh & Co, lawyers for the petitioners and Tony Lithur of LithurBrew & Co, lawyers for President Mahama, denied the petitioners' allegation that the election was rigged in favour of President Mahama.

The affidavit sworn to by Kwadwo Sarfo-Kantanka, a deputy Commissioner of EC, averred that the total number of registered voters, copies of which were forwarded to the parties, was 14,031,680 and added that figure 14,158,890 used to declare the results was a 'genuine' error and that it had no bearing on the results declared.

The commission said it rather affected the voter turnout by increasing it to 80.15 percent from79.43 percent.



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