The Electoral Commission (EC) has confirmed that Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, the running mate of the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), was verified outside the designated exhibition centre during the just-ended exhibition exercise on the voters register at Walewale in the Northern Region.
But the statement issued by the commission yesterday and signed by Mr Amadu Sulley, Deputy Chairperson (Operations), did not mention the exact location or place where Dr Bawumia was verified.
According to the statement, the EC’s attention had been drawn to an incident involving the verification of a voter outside the designated EC centre number H23041 at the Kperigu Presbyterian Junior High School (JHS) “A’ at Walewale in the West Mamprusi District on July 24, 2016.
The statement said based on the report, a three-member committee was set up by the Northern Regional Directorate of the commission to investigate the incident and provide appropriate recommendations.
The committee chaired by the Northern Regional Director of the EC, Mr Bruce Ayisi, after its investigations, according to the statement, came up with its findings that on the said date, Mr Ambrose Yobe, an Exhibition Officer, and Ms Mumuni Latifa, a Verification Officer, closed and vacated their exhibition centre before the stipulated closing time of 6p.m.
It said Dr Bawumia was facilitated by both officers to check his name in the voters register and got verified outside the exhibition centre.
“The committee was of the considered opinion that the conduct of the officers was a violation of the guidelines issued for the exercise and contrary to the commission’s policies”.
“According to the rules and the guidelines, only the commission had the mandate to designate specific areas as exhibition centres,” the statement added.
The statement, however, said a committee that was set up to investigate the issue when the EC’s attention was drawn to the matter concluded that allowing a registered voter to go through the exhibition process outside the designated centre was an irregularity and a breach of the rules.
Accordingly, the two officers were replaced by the acting district electoral officer as soon as the issue was brought to the attention of the commission.
“The commission wishes to advise political leaders to familiarise themselves with the electoral laws and regulations to enable them to insist on the right things being done at all times”.
The statement further urged members of the public to continue to support the electoral process by promptly bringing any irregularities to its attention for speedy resolution.
When the Daily Graphic contacted the Northern Regional Crime Officer of the Ghana Police Service, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Mr John Anane, he confirmed that his outfit was investigating such a matter but could not give further details.
It would be recalled that the Daily Graphic in its Monday, August 8, 2016 edition published a story on page 17 with the headline “ NDC wants police to investigate Bawumia”.
The story read, “The Walewale Constituency executive of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have officially lodged a complaint with the police to investigate the circumstances under which the running mate of the presidential candidate of the NPP, Dr Bawumia, invited two officials of the EC to his residence at Walewale in the West Mamprusi District of the Northern Region for him to verify his name in the voters register”
It said “the two EC officials identified as Ambrose Yobe and Mumuni Latifa, who were polling station officers in Walewale, have since been dismissed by the commission for moving the exhibition centre to a house at Walewale said to be the residence of Dr Bawumia for him to check his name in the register, which according to the EC, was against the regulations governing the exercise”.