Petitioners unhappy with exclusion of their comments in KPMG report

BY: Arku Jasmine

Mr Philip Addison, Lead Counsel for the petitionersThe Petitioners in the Presidential Election Petition are unhappy with the failure of the auditors, KPMG, to include their comments in a final report on audited pink sheets.

A May 9, 2013 ruling by the Supreme Court judges ordered KPMG to conduct an audit into the 11,842 pink sheets submitted by the petitioners.

The order was necessitated by claims by the respondents that the pink sheets they had been served with fell far below what the petitioners stated in their affidavits.

KPMG finished their audit this month and presented a report to the justices and parties to petition.

Nii Amanor Dodoo, an official of KPMG Thursday morning mounted the witness box to answer questions from lawyers involved in the ongoing election petition hearing at the Supreme Court.

Appendix E5 of the final KPMG report, records that the referee rejected a number of pink sheets because certain features such as polling station name, code and exhibit numbers were not legible.

The petitioners then provided information that was to allow the referee to identify those pink sheets.

They claim that out of 1,545 pink sheets marked as unintelligible, 850 could be clearly identified using the information about polling station codes provided by the petitioners.

But KPMG, however, declined to use this information. They therefore excluded these pink sheets from the final count and excluded the correspondence with the petitioners on this issue.

The petitioners are concerned that in their final report, there is no mention comments received from the petitioners which was intended to help them identify the pink sheets in contention.

In his defence, witness for KPMG said their work was strictly limited to the order of the court. The order required his firm to authenticate pink sheets on the basis of exhibit number, polling station code and poling station name. He said where they could not establish the identity of a pink sheet on the basis of the three issues on the face of that sheet, they did excluded it from the count because they could not resort to any other reference document outside the pink sheets with the Registrar of the court.

Whilst not denying having received comments from the petitioners on how to establish the identity of the pink sheets, doing so would have required cross-checking from a document outside its mandate. But added that the court could make a decision to compel them to do that.

He said the reason why they declined to mention this in their report was because their comments did not relate to their specific task.

Philip Addison counsel for the petitioners suggested that it was not within their mandate to determine which comment was relevant and should be included in the final report or not. They should have at least included the comments for the judges to peruse, he said.

If their comments were not going to be included, then there would be no need for the referee to invite comments from the parties, Addison remarked.

He said the pink sheets were evidence filed by the petitioners and was important to their case.

Justice Atuguba said the witness raised “jurisdictional issue”. Other judges also reiterated that the referee was to adhere strictly.

A judge read out the order of the court. It was that KPMG was to make a faithful and truthful count of all the pink sheets in the custody of the registrar… and specify each pink sheet according to polling station code name and number.