KPMG report: Addison's request for "soft-copy" rejected

BY: Arku Jasmine

Mr Philip AddisonThe Supreme Court hearing the ongoing election petition, Monday turned down a request by lead counsel for the petitioners, Mr Philip Addison, for a soft copy of KPMG’s final report on the audited pink sheets.

Mr Addison requested for a soft copy to enable the petitioners to carefully examine the five-volume document which was presented to the court.

However, Mr Addison’s request was vehemently objected by Mr Tony Lithur, counsel for the first respondent.

According to Mr Lithur, the request could not be granted since they (petitioners, respondents and KPMG) had reached an agreement that copies of the final report would only be made available in hard copies.

Counsels for the second and third respondents, Mr Quarshie-Idun and Mr Tsatsu Tsikata associated themselves to Mr Lithur’s objection.

According to Mr Tsikata, there was a good reason for the agreement that was reached between all the parties and the referees, partly because they did not want the documents tampered with.

He referred to the instance where hard copies of documents had been changed and would not risk soft copy documents.

Pressing home his stance, Mr Addison said he did not understand why the respondents were trying to bar his request.

He told the court that KPMG did not explicitly say they would not provide soft copies upon request, rather, it was agreed that the hard copies of the print outs would be given on daily basis and further prayed the court to request a soft copy of the final report and if the need be for them (petitioners) to bear the cost, they would.

The official who submitted the final report on behalf of KPMG, Nii Amanor Dodoo, explained to the court that, ordinarily KPMG did not give soft copies of reports to the parties that engage them for such purposes due to risk management issues.

“My lords, ordinarily, we don’t give soft copies of reports to parties of which we will do any engagement that is from a risk management perspective so that those documents which bear our names will not be subject to any changes that may be attributed to the original form,” he explained.

According to him, they categorically mentioned to the parties during the audit that they will not be in the position to provide any of the parties with soft copies out.

However, if any of parties would want some understanding of how results of the procedures were reached, they would take them through the processes that were followed and the tools that were used to reach those conclusions.

Prior to the request, Mr Addison had prayed the court to grant the petitioners two clear days to examine the document and return on Thursday, June 27, 2013, to continue with the cross-examination of the second respondent, Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan.

However, Mr Addison’s request was vehemently objected by the Mr Tony Lithur, counsel for the first respondent.

According to Mr Lithur, the request by the petitioners for two days to study the report was not necessary since going through the draft report, there didn’t seem to be any major changes to the final report; a position, counsels for the second and third respondents associated themselves to.

Conversely, Mr Addison considered that the two-day break was necessary because they (petitioners) had made substantial comments on the draft reports, thus they needed the time to cross check if their comments had been incorporated in the final report.

Based on the explanation by KPMG the bench, by a 7 to 2 ruling refused the petitioners the request for a soft copy of the report but sustained the request for adjournment to Wednesday, June 26, 2013.