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Opinions of Thursday, 20 June 2013

Columnist: Asare, Noah

KPMG Pink Sheet Auditing, Who Will Fall?

The Land Mark Election Petition put before the supreme Court by the three NPP big guns (Nana Addo Dankwah Akuffo Addo, Dr Mahmud Bawumia and Jake Otanka Obitsebi Lamptey) in which they are seeking to overturn the declaration of President Mahama by the Electoral Commissioner as the winner of the 2012 polls has been stalled to a halt by the respondents continuous complain of under-supply of the Pink sheet used as evidence by the petitioners.

It is running into many weeks since the discrepancy surrounding the pink sheet has taken centre stage of the historic election petition. The petitioners have consistently maintained that they supplied the highest court of the land with the number they have always mentioned; 11,842. The respondents have also not pulled breaks on their claim that they were not served with that amount. They first claim they were served with less than 8000 pink sheets and later blew the number to over 8000 and now 9000.

All said and done the Honorable Court has determined to be as just and as fair as possible by granting any request made by the respondents. First they ordered for an independent referee and in agreement with the two parties and the court, KPMG was offered the task to do the auditing.

The first auditing by the KPMG did not come without controversies as the respondents marred the waters with claims that they smelled a rat in the audit at the registry's strong room where they said they suspected a smuggling in of some more boxes implicatively by the petitioners to make up the number. KPMG openly condemned this claim and laid that matter to rest.

Now the post has been shifted by the respondents once again as they claim that there should be a control mechanism by comparing the number in the registry with another from the panel. And for this they have settled on Justice Atuguba's pink sheets.

Cross examination of the key witness for the electoral commission has been paused due to this new request by the petitioners. Now, whatever the outcome of this audit, what effect will it have on the case of the respondents and on that of the petitioners?

In case the petitioners are vindicated for the permanent stand they have positioned themselves in, all that work will be useless and the petitioners will at least be morally strengthened in the court. Their voices will be amplified to reiterate the speculation that the pink sheet audit as requested by the respondents was orchestrated to just buy time.

On the other hand if the audit proves the respondents right, their jaws will be made strong to bite the petitioners with the claim that they had intent to deceive the court and therefore doubled, tripled and quadrupled the pink sheets they presented. They may ask the court to apply sanctions on the petitions for deceit of the court.

One thing is clear, whether the pink sheet add up or not, that cannot throw out the case of the petitioners. It might damage their image before the court but surely the petition will still continue with any number in the custody of the court whether fewer or more. But at this particular time when Dr Afari Djan, whom I see as the very crucial centre of all this controversy is being cross examined, the delay will go a long way to help the case of the petitioners as they have more time to dig deeper into his presentation and bring out every pin and needle holding his statement or better still "lecture" together. It will have been in the interest of the respondents if by now Lawyer Addison had been allowed to bring his questioning to an end. Because with all these days spared to him, he will have so much time to interrogate every single word, phrase, sentence and paragraph in Dr Afari Djan's statement.

At the end of the day, pink sheet audit or not the case will continue with any number arrived at. But the questions Lawyer Addison had listed will surely be well screwed by now and trust me Dr Afari Djan's examination will take a different dimension altogether.

I conclude that with the way things are going and from reports sneaking to our notice, the respondents have shot themselves in the foot. The simple option should have been taken by just requesting for the pink sheets they claim not to have, to have been supplied them by the registry instead of pausing Addison at this crucial time to go gather more arms against Dr Afari Djan.

God bless Ghana our Motherland.

Noah Asare.

Stockstadt, Germany.