Supreme Court order counting of pink sheet exhibits

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

The court’s ruling followed an application by counsel for the third respondent (National Democratic Congress), Mr Tsatsu Tsikata for an audit of the pink sheet exhibits submitted by the petitioners.

Mr Tsikata claimed the third respondent received less than the 11,842 pink sheet exhibits the petitioners are alleging to have filed.

He made the application for an audit of the pink sheets midway in his cross examination of Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Thursday, the seventh day of his cross examination, which marked the 14th day of the hearing of the substantive matter in the election petition challenging President John Mahama's declaration as winner.

Counsels for the first respondent, (President John Mahama) Mr Tony Lithur and Mr James Quashie-Idun supported the application by Mr Tsikata.

Mr Tsikata during the cross examination by Mr Tony Lithur early on the hearing raised the issue about auditing of the pink sheets but the court deferred that request.

The petitioners’ lead counsel Mr Philip Addison who did not object to the auditing of the exhibits, questioned the timing of the call for the auditing.

He argued that the respondents ought to have raised it with the registry that the number of pink sheets they received were less than the 11,842 and that they could have raised the issue before beginning with the cross examination.

He wondered why Mr Tsikata would be making the application when he was about closing his cross examination of the witness.

In ruling on the application after recess, the court said it had noted the agreement of the parties as to the necessity for a count of the number of exhibits of pink sheets delivered by the petitioners to the registrar of the court and served on the respondents.

“Accordingly the court thus appoint with the consent of the parties, KPMG International , accounting firm, as referee to carry out the said count”, Justice William Atuguba, President of the panel of judges read out the court’s ruling.

The court ordered that in doing so, the said referee should make a true and faithful count of all the said exhibits of pink sheets, according to and under the various categories of alleged electoral malpractices in issue before the court as follows: the said allegations as appearing, contained and specified in paragraphs 44 to 67 of the second petitioner (Dr Mahamudu Bawumia) affidavit relating to the presidential election petition pending in the court, filed in the registry of the court on April 7, 2013, specifying in respect of each pink sheet, the polling station name and its code number and exhibit number if any.

It said the professional fees of the referee should be shared equally between the parties.

“Each party is at liberty to choose two representatives to attend the said count as observers” it added.

And in addition, the referee is to undertake and complete the said count and submit its report thereon to the registrar of the court forthwith.

Hearing continues on Monday May 13, 2013.

Story: Enoch Darfah Frimpong/Graphic.com.gh