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Petitioners submit particulars on 4,709 polling stations whiles EC provides number of voters abroad

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

The petitioners contesting the declaration of President Mahama as the winner of the December 2012 polls have submitted the names and codes of 4,709 polling stations where alleged irregularities took place.

They have also filed the names and codes of the polling stations where voting took place without biometric verification.

President John Dramani Mahama and the Electoral Commission (EC), who are the first and second respondents in the petition are expected to be served with the filed documents before the end of the week.

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Pursuant to the court’s order on  February 5, 2013, the petitioners are expected to submit further and better particulars on the remaining 7,207 polling stations where the alleged irregularities took place within two weeks.

The petitioners have also filed the amended petition which has increased the number of polling stations where alleged irregularities took place from 4,709 to 11,916, thereby, making 11,916, the official figure in the court’s records.

They filed the amendment following February 7, 2013 permission by the Supreme Court.

The Electoral Commission (EC), for its part, has complied with the Supreme Court orders by answering questions posed by petitioners.

The petitioners, who are the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; his running mate, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, and the Chairman of the NPP, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, filed a petition at the Supreme Court, dated December 28, 2012 and noted, among other things, that irregularities recorded at 11,916 polling stations, favoured President Mahama but President Mahama and the EC have denied the claims.

Answering interrogatories posed by the petitioners, a table submitted by the EC said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs submitted a total of 2,350 as members of staff, but the EC captured a total of 705 staff during the registration process which took place between September and October 2012.

The EC explained in an answer to interrogatories posed by the petitioners and filed at the Supreme Court registry Tuesday that, 55 persons who registered in Accra, were staff serving in Ghanaian missions abroad but had returned home.

It said the list of foreign service personnel, their dependants, students on Ghana government scholarship abroad and Ghanaians working with international organisations together with the locations and proposed dates of registration was given by the EC to both the NPP and the NDC before the registration abroad took place.

“Honourable Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh (NPP) and Mr George Lawson (NDC), collected the material on behalf of their political parties in the middle of September, 2012,” adding “no voting took place outside Ghana.”

Countries where registration exercise took place were London, 49; The Hague, 27; Moscow, 34; Berlin, 27; Geneva, 26; Rome, 16; Spain, 3; Cuba, 15; Washington DC, 23; New York, 55; Brazil, 13; China, 20; Seoul, 22; India, 17; Dubai, 19; Malaysia, 13, Addis Ababa, 36; Pretoria, 43; Rabat, 45; Algiers, 28; Cairo, 20; Monrovia, 27, Dakar, 21; Abidjan, 13; Bamako, 11; Abuja, 30 and Lome 7.

The Deputy Chairman in-charge of Finance and Administration of the EC, Mr Amadu Sulley, said the initial provisional figure it announced of registered voters was 13,917,366, but after the conduct of registration of foreign service officials, students abroad on government scholarship, other Ghanaians working abroad with international organisations and the late registration of service personnel returning from international peacekeeping duties, it announced that a “figure of 14,031,793 registered voters.

“This was the figure used in printing the final voters copies which were given to the political parties. Following directives from the court on decision regarding appeals from challenges and objections raised during the exhibition of the provisional voters register under C.I. 72, the number of registered voters stood at 14,031,680,” the EC stated.

According to the EC, “further directives received from the court are yet to be incorporated into the register as well as the recent registrations effected in the Kassena-Nankana District, following the order of the High Court. This will alter the total number of registered voters.

“The voters register is dynamic, not static, particularly, in this era of continuous registration as required by Regulation 9 (C. I. 72)”, the EC added.

In answer to whether or not Nana Akufo-Addo or the NPP was notified of the dates of registration abroad, the EC said “the respondent is not obliged by law to allow political party representatives to be present during registration exercises but has done so, in practice, as a courtesy and to enhance transparency.

It was open to the political parties to have their representatives present at the registration locations abroad if they had so wished”, the EC added.

The petitioners on January 31, 2013, amended their petition which they had filed on December 28, 2012, to request the Supreme Court to annul 4,670,504 valid votes cast during the election at 11,916 polling stations where alleged irregularities were recorded.

They have also introduced the claim that there were 28 locations where elections took place, which according to them, were not part of the 26,002 polling stations created by the EC.

Story by Mabel Aku Baneseh