Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan, Chairman of the Electoral Commission on Monday found it extremely difficult to defend the rationale for the occurrence of pink sheets with same serial numbers and the printing of two sets of pink sheets as contained in the response of the Electoral commission to the 2nd amended petition and as had been stated by the Electoral Commissioner himself whilst in the witness box.
Counsel Philip Addison who was cross examining the Chairman of the Electoral Commission for the 3rd day, began his line of questioning on the serial numbers by taking the EC Boss through the various election materials which had “numbers” embossed on them such as stamps, ballot box seals, ballot papers and tamper proof envelopes which all had unique numbers embossed on them.
The EC boss dramatically had issues with the use of the word “embossed” but rather agreed when the lead Counsel changed the word and replaced it with “written on them”.
Counsel Addison also suggested to Dr. Afari Gyan that for elections all the numbers were unique to particular a polling station which was confirmed by Dr. Afari Gyan.
The Petitioners’ lead Counsel then delved into the specific issue of serial numbers.
Counsel Addison first suggested to Dr. Afari Gyan that the serial numbers on the pink sheets were printed with the consent of the commission but Dr. Afari Gyan, as he had stated in his examination in chief, stated that the serial numbers were generated by the printers without the consent of the commission.
Dr. Afari Gyan stated that the serial numbers embossed on the pink sheets were embossed by the printers for counting purposes as without it, the printers as well as the Commission would find it difficult knowing the exact number of pink sheets printed.
But Counsel Philip Addison informed Dr. Afari Gyan that every printer had a counter which indicates the number of copies printed and that it did not need to print the number on the paper to know how many had been printed. Dr. Afari Gyan at this point stated that he was not aware of that fact and quickly shifted his position, solely relying on the fact that the numbers were so embossed so as to give the commission the chance to know how many copies had been delivered to the commission and that it would have been a difficult task to know whether the printing firms had indeed delivered 27,000 pink sheets if the numbers were not printed.
Counsel Philip Addison then inquired from Dr. Afari Gyan why the numbers on the pink sheets did not commence from 1 and end at 27,000 if indeed it was for counting purposes. But at this point, Dr. Afari Gyan replied that he could not tell because he was not the one who generated the numbers and that it is the printer who should tell him the number that had been printed and how he could verify.
On whether the numbers on the ballot papers were also for counting, Dr. Afari Gyan said that the ballot papers were sensitive materials and should be treated differently from the pink sheets which were not sensitive. Counsel Addison sought to know how the pink sheets, on whose basis election results were collated and declared, were not sensitive. But Dr. Afar Gyan’s reasoning for his answer was that the pink sheet only became sensitive when the record of the elections was written on them.
However, the most bizarre moment yet was to come when Dr. Afari Gyan informed the court that the ballot papers which he claimed were most sensitive were printed in Ghana but that the pink sheets which were not sensitive was printed abroad because no Ghanaian printing firm had the capacity to print them. Worse of all, Dr. Afari Gyan could not tell the court in which country the pink sheets were printed though he said the contract was giving to Buck Press which had them printed abroad.
Counsel Addison inquired from Dr. Afari Gyan if the commission had indicated to the printers what the commission wanted on the pink sheets. Dr. Afari Gyan said that in the award of any contract, the commission specifies clearly what it wants to be delivered and surprisingly for the first time admitted that it was the Commission that requested for the numbers on the pink sheets to be embossed with the justification that all pink sheets in the past have had serial numbers but that the commission did not tell the printers what range of numbers it should generate.
This disclosure was completely contradictory to the stance of the EC Boss who had maintained all along that the commission knew nothing about the numbers.
More controversy was to follow when Dr. Afari Gyan stated that the commission ordered 27,000 pink sheets and that these 27,000 booklets of pink sheets were to be printed in two sets of 9 each as the commission anticipated that there would be about 14 or 15 presidential candidates.
However, Counsel Addison pointed out to Dr. Afari Gyan that at the time of printing, the Commission knew exactly the number of presidential candidates and had gone ahead to do the balloting for positions on the ballot papers and pink sheets. Dr. Afari Gyan however seemed to disagree saying that with the items printed broad were printed earlier.
Counsel Addison wondered if by his answer the EC Boss was indicating that by some power of clairvoyance the EC had been able to determine the order of the candidates before the balloting was done for them to have been able to order printing.
Dr. Afari Gyan, who initially did not want to confirm that the printing of the pink sheets could have only started after the balloting was done, after some minutes, finally agreed that the printing could not have started till after the balloting but said that the contract was awarded before the balloting was done.
Dr. Afari Gyan also agreed with Counsel Addison’s suggestion that without the printing of the second set, each of the pink sheets would have been unique to the polling stations they were sent to and that the duplications would not have arisen.
Counsel Addison put it to Dr. Afari Gyan that the rationalization he was given to the printing of two sets were false because, the commission still went ahead to get two sets printed, even though they knew exactly how many candidates were contesting at the time printing began and that the second set had the same set of candidates as the first which should not have been the case and that if indeed the commission were expecting more candidates, the second set should have had different candidates or at worst blanks but at this point, Dr. Afari Gyan said that he did not understand the suggestion from the counsel.
It would be recalled that the justification that the duplicate serial numbers arose because the EC printed two sets of pink sheets, was first introduced when the EC amended its response to the amended petition of the petitioners. The ECs’ reason for printing the two sets as was contained in the affidavit deposed to by Amadu Sulley was that the commission did not know the number of candidates before printing began.
Source: Communications Directorate, NPP/Ghana
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