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NPP's Election Petition: Fireworks In Court
 
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30-Jan-2013  
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The Supreme Court yesterday, sitting on the petition filed by New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and two others challenging the declaration of John Mahama as president by the Electoral Commission (EC), was inundated by a horde of application filed by the parties.

Currently, the nine-member panel, chaired by Justice William Atuguba, is hearing applications filed by the Electoral Commission and the second respondent in the petition, President Mahama, asking the petitioners for ‘further and better particulars’ of the 4,709 polling stations where the petitioners are alleging irregularities in the just-ended general elections.

When the long back-and-forth arguments were concluded, the petitioners also moved another application of interrogation, asking the court to order the second respondent, the EC, to furnish them with the lists of voters, including peace keepers, students and embassy staff who were registered abroad.

The EC had claimed that over 200,000 people were registered abroad whereas earlier reports suggested that they were far less than 5000.
The highest court of the land has already disposed of an application for joinder that was filed by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to be part of the case, ruling that the NDC was an interested party to the petition and had thus automatically become part of the case.

With the filling of the applications, the court would have to conclude and make decisions before the main petition could proceed.
There were heated arguments as the applications were moved and the issue of whether it was right for the court to hear the counsel for the NDC when the third respondent had not filed any answers to the applications also came up.


EC Motion

James Quarshie-Idun, supported by Anthony Dabi and Stanley Amarteifio, representing the EC, was the first to move his application for further and better particulars from the petitioners: Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, his running mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and NPP Chairman, Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey.

He said under Rule 69 (a) sub rule 4 of the Supreme Court Amendment Rule 2012 of C.I. 74 enjoins the petitioners to provide ‘further and better particulars’ to the applicant for the case to move on.

“We made specific references filed by the petitioners in respect of which we are asking for orders to ask the petitioners to provide us with further and better particulars.”

He said the EC was requesting the petitioners to provide the names of and codes of polling stations where the petitioners are alleging that voting took place without prior verification.

He said the EC needed the petitioners to furnish them with the polling stations where different results were recorded with the same code numbers.

Mr. Quarshie-Idun needed particulars of the polling stations (in the form of names and codes) where the petitioners are alleging that there were widespread instances of no signatures on the sheets given to the party agents.

Justice Sulley Gbadegbe, a member of the panel, then asked counsel for the EC to refer to the affidavit and not the petition. Mr. Quarshie-Idum replied, “I answered the petition because that contained the facts. I could not answer the affidavit.”

After a few minutes of arguments, Justice Atuguba said, “He (Justice Gbadegbe) has taken notice so you can proceed.”

Mr. Quarshie-Idun then said, “We are entitled to know which are the 4,709 out of the entire over 26,000 polling stations so we know how to answer them.”

He argued that once the petitioners were able to provide further and better particulars for three polling stations where they claimed the votes of Nana Akufo-Addo were reduced and that of President Mahama padded, they should be able to provide the rest of the 4,709.

He asked the court to consider persuasive force to get the petitioners to furnish the EC with further and better particulars.
“We will be taken by surprise if they do not indicate to us the names of the polling stations and their codes. We are asking them to give us particulars of the facts.”

To be Cont'd
 
 
 
Source: Daily Guide
 
 

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