Mr Robert Joseph Mettle-Nunoo, one of the representatives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Electoral Commission’s (EC) ‘strong room’ during Election 2020, has filed his witness statement in support of the petition filed by former President John Dramani Mahama.
He filed his statement yesterday and is expected to be cross-examined by lawyers for the two respondents, the EC and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, when the Supreme Court resumes hearing of the petition today.
Mr Mettle-Nunoo is the third witness to be called by lawyers for Mr Mahama, who was the NDC’s presidential candidate in the 2020 elections, to testify in the case.
In his witness statement, he said although the EC chairperson made a couple of “very” brief visits to the strong room, she did not perform the duties she was supposed to in order to declare the winner of the presidential election.
He noted that the EC had a video documentary person who was recording the events in the strong room.
Mr Mettle-Nunoo said the dedicated fax machines, as well as printers and computers, which were manned by EC officials were provided for the strong room and were to receive faxes from the regional collation centres in the full view of agents of candidates and then projected on an overhead projector in the strong room as the results were received.
He added that on December 9, 2021, for many hours the fax machines in the strong room were not working, saying that one “could see the frustration on the faces of the EC personnel as the fax transmission was slow”.
The witness said instead of that pre-arranged system for the regional collation sheets to be transmitted to the head office of the EC, what happened, part of the time, was that one of the deputy directors of the EC, Dr Sereboe Quaicoe, would, from time to time, bring into the strong room what was claimed to be a regional collation sheet.
“How he got that sheet was not disclosed,” he said in his statement.
Mr Mettle-Nunoo noted that on many occasions, he and his colleague, Dr Michael Kpessa-Whyte, pointed out errors in figures and words on the sheets that were brought in which ultimately affected total and assigned results, adding that “this sometimes led to EC officials making phone calls, on the basis of which they sought to explain and correct some of the things we pointed out”.
He added that the process was not transparent, as he could not tell to whom those phone calls were made, saying: “I cannot tell if the calls were to EC officials or to some other people who were also involved in collation processes.”
To support his claim, Mr Mettle-Nunoo noted that when they pointed out problems on the Eastern Regional collation sheet, another one was subsequently brought in and claimed to be a corrected version.
The “corrected” version, he said, could not have been what was produced at the regional collation centre at the time the collation was done and was, therefore, not an authentic document.
Mr Mettle-Nunoo said the only way to establish the authenticity of that document was for the original to be made available and a transparent process undertaken in the presence of agents of the candidates for any corrections to be effected.
He said sometimes when they queried certain collation results from the regional levels, the EC officials were quick to say, "Once your representatives have signed, the only relief available to you is to go to court."
He further alleged that that position by EC officials misled him into signing the regional collation sheet for the Ashanti Region because there was no signature of the agent of the petitioner at the regional collation centre on the regional collation sheet for the Ashanti Region.
According to him, he later found out from speaking with officials at the NDC headquarters that what had been presented on the signed collation form was not consistent with a tally of polling station results in the Ashanti Region.
Mr Mettle-Nunoo said at the point when he first went to the office of the chairperson of the EC on December 8, 2020, he wanted to bring to her attention that what was going on in the strong room could not lead to a declaration by her of the results at the end of the day, as she had promised the country.
He said in her response, the EC Chair told him that the concerns he had raised were genuine and that she would have them looked into.
Mr Mettle-Nunoo again noted that they had absolutely no reason to leave the EC strong room, adding: “We left our belongings, including computers and bags, in the strong room at the time we left and my colleague left his vehicle on the premises of the EC.”
He said Mr Peter Mac Manu, who is representing President Akufo-Addo in the case, acknowledged, in a television interview on Metro TV, that he knew they were coming back and said so to a colleague of theirs who came to the strong room after they had left.
“Our colleague came specifically to give me a change of shirts I had requested for since we had been in the strong room from the evening of 7th December, 2020,” he stated.
Mr Mettle-Nunoo noted that when he returned, the EC Chairperson was in the process of announcing the results of the presidential election, saying that “the petitioner naturally asked how that was possible when the same person had sent us with a message for him”.
Below is a LIVE video from the court room