Asokwa Pink sheet shot down

BY: Samuel K. Obour

Mr Justice Atuguba, Presiding JudgeAn attempt by counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, to tender in evidence a pink sheet from one of the strongholds of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to prove allegations of bad faith on the part of the petitioners backfired when the Supreme Court overruled the move.

Mr Tsikata had sought to lead the General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, to tender in evidence a pink sheet from the MA Primary School Polling Station at Asokwa in the Ashanti Region to buttress the NDC’s claim that the petitioners deliberately relied on the strongholds of the NDC to make claims of irregularities when, indeed, similar irregularities had occurred at some of their strongholds.

Objecting to the tendering of the pink sheet, counsel for the petitioners, Mr Philip Addison, argued that the document had not been properly laid before the Supreme Court to warrant Mr Tsikata referring to it.

He also argued that the NDC had not pleaded the documents in its affidavit.

The court sustained Mr Addison’s objection.

Immediately after the court’s decision to uphold the objection, Mr Tsikata prayed the court to allow him to tender it in evidence.

At that point, Mr Addison objected again, on the grounds that the April 2, 2013 ruling of the court had directed all parties in the petition challenging the legitimacy of President Mahama to tender in evidence as exhibits all documents they wished to rely on during the hearing.

He submitted that the Asokwa pink sheet was not part of the documents the NDC had pleaded to rely on and for that reason if the court allowed it it would amount to the court no longer relying on its April 2, 2013 order.

“It is not part of their case. There is no mention of this document. We have closed our case and are now being confronted with fresh documents. Under the circumstance, we pray the tendering of the document should be disallowed,” Mr Addison emphasised.

Mr Tsikata responds

Replying to Mr Addison’s objection, Mr Tsikata reminded the court that on May 22, 2013, it allowed the petitioners to tender in evidence a list of 704 polling stations which had been deleted from polling stations where the petitioners alleged irregularities.

He, therefore, maintained that the document was relevant because it had been identified as a statement of poll and declaration of results at an identified polling station, adding, “The relevance of the document cannot be contested.”

Mr Tsikata said it was part of the NDC’s case that the issues in contention related to 26,002 polling stations and it was also important for the court to take cognisance of the NDC’s pleadings that the petitioners had acted in bad faith.

Mr Addison rebuts

Rebutting Mr Tsikata’s argument, Mr Addison indicated that the list of 704 polling stations was already in evidence, and added, “We are not talking about relevance here; it is about abiding by the rules of the court.”

“They are trying to do a case behind our back,” Mr Addison added.

The Ruling

The presiding judge, Mr Justice William Atuguba, took some minutes to go through the court’s record book to locate the April 2, 2013 ruling.

He conferred with his colleagues after locating the ruling and eventually announced the sustenance of Mr Addison’s objection on behalf of his colleagues.

Other members of the panel were Mr Justice Julius Ansah, Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira, Ms Justice Rose Owusu, Mr Justice Jones Dotse, Mr Justice Annin Yeboah, Mr Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, Mr Justice N. S. Gbadegbe and Mrs Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo.

The Petition

The hearing of the substantive petition, which has the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; his running mate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, and the Chairman of the NPP, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, as petitioners, began on April 17, 2013.

The petitioners have alleged that the December 7 and 8, 2012 presidential election was fraught with malpractices of over-voting, non-signing of pink sheets by presiding officers or their assistants, voting without biometric verification and duplicated serial numbers of pink sheets.

However, President Mahama, the EC and the NDC have denied that any such irregularities occurred during the election.

Story: Mabel Aku Baneseh

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