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Opinions of Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

What a Travesty of Justice?

The Ghana Supreme Court verdict on Election 2012 declared on Thursday, 29 August 2013, is a complete miscarriage of justice. The nine-judge panel sitting on the case had all the evidence presented to them to make a reasonable judgment. However, they chose lies, unprofessionalism, and sheer stupidity to be their yardstick to judging the case.

The dismissal decision taken on the petition as made public by Justice William Atuguba, the Presiding Judge of the panel, beggars belief. Did the judges actually study the case? Did they really consider the credibility of the evidence provided and as gathered during the cross-examinations of the principal witnesses, and at the oral clarification of addresses by the Lead Counsels for the petitioners and the respondents? Did they take note of the fact that the Court proceedings were being telecast live and that the whole world was watching?

I am afraid, the judges were not conscious of the fact that the world was watching them and that the public would judge them. Do the judges think they are the only intelligent ones with the power to tell what Ghanaians should obligatorily believe and accept? Yes, they have the power to pronounce death or conviction sentence on those brought before them accused of one crime or the other. Nonetheless, they have the ethical duty to be fair in their dispensation of justice.

Do they think to have been fair with their decision to dismiss the petitioners’ case of there being multiple irregularities at Election 2012 that compromised the results and the final declaration of the presidential winner? I am afraid; they had not been serious, fair and competent enough when coming out with what I can boldly declare as their “disgracefully stupid verdict”.

The petitioners alleged and proved in Court that there had been instances of:

1. Voters casting their votes without passing through biometric verification

2. Over-voting in some polling stations (ballots in the ballot box outnumbering the registered ballots issued) 3. Electoral Presiding Officers not filling in boxes provided on pink sheets and not signing the sheets as required by law

4. Existence of foreign (ghost) polling stations unknown to all parties but voting took place in those polling booths

5. Duplication and quadruplicating of pink sheets serial numbers

6. Duplication of polling station codes

My questions to the disgraceful judges are:

a. Did they notice themselves evidence of such irregularities from the documentary proofs submitted by the petitioners? b. If they did find evidence of the allegations in each or some of the cases, what did they do? c. Does occurrence of each situation as at point “a”, constitute a statutory violation? d. What did they do in each instance of a statutory violation being detected?

The world and I could establish from the Court proceedings that deliberate collusive committal of malpractices constituting statutory violations did take place during Election 2012. We have read the portion of Ghana Constitution relating to organising national elections and how it empowers the Electoral Commissioner to enact regulations to ensure credible elections. This is why Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan, the Chairman of the Electoral Commission came out with the Constitutional Instrument 75 (CI 75), spelling out the rules for the election. CI75 became law and was binding on all the participants of the election.

What then are the judges telling me? Do they think we are all as stupid, unprofessional, liars and corrupt as they are to simply throw out the case? For not being fair, they could not even present their detail reasons with citation of laws, case references etc., as to why the petitioners’ case has been dismissed, in front of the audience among whom were foreign media. They were scared and felt guilty to be seen as rubbish before the international media hence, offering that five-minute summary verdict. I would have been pleased to have the foreign media capture their nonsense on camera to replay them abroad.

I know for a fact that in some polling stations, the results were cancelled for over-voting. I also know that some eligible voters were turned away from some polling stations, not allowed to vote, because the biometric verification machines could not recognise their fingerprints. I saw from the live telecast of the Court proceedings that there were duplication and quadruplicating of same serial-numbered pink sheets that were used at various polling stations. Why did the Electoral Commission print four sets of the pink sheets even though Dr Afari Gyan accepted of printing two sets?

It was with the pre-meditation to rig the election that two to four sets of same pink sheets were printed. If he perceived there being the need to go over the 26,002 pink sheets for the announced or publicly known polling stations, he could have printed say, 40,000 sheets with different but in order of sequential serial numbers. The fact that he had sets with same serial numbers, he could easily tamper with results on a pink sheet from a polling station for archiving purposes. He would pull out a pink sheet bearing same serial number with that raising suspicion, fill it in, get someone to sign it, and then file it away for future reference. If this was not Afari Gyan’s intention, why did he print same serial-numbered pink sheets?

I am sure Atuguba and his bunch of incompetent, corrupt and shameless judges are not seeking to underestimate the intelligence of Ghanaians forever. Unfortunately, there are some stupid Ghanaians who reason same as the judges do, but not all of us are stupid as they are.

Why were some pink sheets not signed by the Electoral Presiding officers? Why was one Salamtu caught in Savelugu on instruction by a boss of the Electoral Commission in the Northern region who doubles as NDC member to dubiously arrange to have the sheets signed? Do the judges realise the seriousness of their incompetent or corrupt action leading them to pronounce that silly verdict?

Even though I am not a lawyer, and never approach my children for legal advice, I can tell when a lawyer or a judge has erred big time in dispensing justice. One does not necessarily have to be a lawyer to know the law. The judges have goofed big time!

What is biometric verification? "Biometric verification is any means by which a person can be uniquely identified by evaluating one or more distinguishing biological traits. Unique identifiers include fingerprints, hand geometry, earlobe geometry, retina and iris patterns, voice waves, DNA, and signatures. No matter what biometric methodology is used, the identification verification process remains the same. A record of a person's unique characteristic is captured and kept in a database. Later on, when identification verification is required, a new record is captured and compared with the previous record in the database. If the data in the new record matches that in the database record, the person's identity is confirmed".

Therefore, if a voter's fingerprint was scanned and stored in a database for biometric verification purposes, when the time comes for confirmation of identification, that very particular finger used must be scanned to access the database else the person cannot be identified. You cannot use the picture, one's voter's card or any other thing to access the stored biometric data apart from unique identifier stored.

At work, I have got one of my finger's biometrically scanned and stored to permit me access certain restricted areas. I am not disclosing which finger and on which hand but it will interest or amaze those of you not conversant with the process that none of my other fingers apart from that particular one will grant me access to the area. This goes to rubbish the respondents' assertion that identity cards were placed on the biometric verification machines to identify voters. That is rubbish!

I am waiting for the full statement by the judges stating how they dismissed the case. I will take them on after consulting with my White legal brains who find their verdict petty, nonsensical and shameful of Supreme Court judges.

Contempt of Court? My foot, yes!

Rockson Adofo