A gasping Lawyer, Philip Addison, yesterday turned himself into the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, accusing the Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan of causing financial loss to the state for printing excess pink sheet booklets at last December’s presidential election.
Causing financial loss to the state is a criminal offense, which requires the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice to prosecute anybody or group of persons whose action lead to the loss of cash to the state. Under this law, functionaries of the ex-President Jerry John Rawlings regime were jailed by the erstwhile Kufuor Government.
They including; Kwame Preprah, George Sipah Yankey, Ibrahim Adams, Dan Abodakpui, Victor Selorme and TsatsuTsikata, who coincidentally happens to be the lawyer for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), in the case in which Nana Akufo-Addo, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey are seeking to overturn the electoral victory of John DramaniMahama.
An obviously tired Addison, who clearly appears to have run out of questions at the ongoing Presidential Election Petition hearing, made the charge when he was cross-examining the EC’s witness, Dr. Afari-Gyan, on the number of pink sheets printed during the 2012 presidential and parliamentary election.
Justice Akoto-Bamfo, immediately intervened and ordered the witness not to answer the question.
The EC purportedly printed 54,000 pink sheet booklets, but used about 26,000.
The witness explained that the situation arose because the EC expected a higher number of presidential candidates than actually participated in the elections.
Addison probed further by asking, if the EC printed a duplicate set of pink sheets for the Parliamentary elections in view of the contentious creation of 45 new constituencies.
Dr.Afari-Gyan in answering, said there were many blank sessions on the pink sheets and so the EC did not print a duplicate set for the Parliamentary elections.
Addison inquired from Afari-Gyan what he intended to do with over 27,000 pink sheet booklets. The witness replied, the Commission would keep
At this point, Philip Addison suggested that “by printing a duplicate set of pink sheets for the presidential elections 2012, you have in fact caused financial loss to the State”.
Dr.AfariGyan explained an “element of wastage” was built into the administration of elections.
It was Day-33 of the hearing of the Presidential Election Petition at the Supreme Court. Presiding Judge of the panel hearing the Presidential Election Petition, Justice William Atuguba announced the decision of the panel to adjourn the hearing to June 24, 2013.
This was to enable KPMG to complete its work of auditing pink sheets that has proved a source of controversy in the hearing of the petition and a particular hindrance to the cross-examination of the witness and chairman of the EC, Dr.Afari-Gyan.
Counsel for the EC, James Quarshie-Idun, has on numerous occasion objected to the tendering of exhibits by petitioner’s counsel because he claimed, it was fresh and foreign to the original number of exhibits served on the respondents.
Petitioner’s counsel Philip Addison has had to stay away from cross-examining the witness on this issue, until this contention is resolved.
Thursday’s sitting was reduced to just half of the day.
The court registrar announced that KPMG would need one week and a few days to conclude.
The court accordingly adjourned to June 24, 2013.
On Wednesday, one of the nine Justices hearing the election petition, Justice Paul Baffoe Bonnie, asked Mr. Addison to “keep quiet” when he (Baffoe Bonnie) was talking.
Speaking in near-hyper tone with a tinge of ire, Justice Baffoe-Bonnie warned Mr. Addison to mind his language when addressing the Court.
The warning came after Mr. Addison had said in open Court, in anger, that he neither trusted the legal teams of the Respondents nor their Witness.
Mr. Addison’s outburst followed a request by the Electoral Commission’s Chairman, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan to be given a day to compare the Petitioners’ print-out of what they purported to be the 2012 Voters’ Register with that of the EC so as to be sure the document in question was a genuine one.
“They seem not to trust me and they want me to trust them; I don’t trust them one bit…the document can be in the custody of the Court, I will not let them take this document away”, Mr. Addison blurted out in open Court, repeating: “I don’t trust them one bit”.
A female Justice firstly, followed by Justice Baffoe Bonnie, attempted intervening to calm nerves but to no avail as Mr. Addison would not budge except to repeat his distrust for the Respondents by saying: “…I do not think that I will leave it with this Witness, they have been so untruthful throughout this proceedings, I don’t trust them one bit”.
Baffoe Bonnie then reprimanded Mr. Addison, who, by then, was entangled in a chat-back with the Bench, by asking him to “please listen to me; when I’m talking, you have to keep quiet”.
He said, “Whatever you say is to the Bench; if you say you don’t trust, if you use any negative words, they impact negatively on the Bench, so you shouldn’t be using these words; that is clear and simple; I don’t see why you don’t get it”.
Justice Baffoe Bonnie went to ask, “What can we be doing here if we have to throw words at each other, we can’t achieve anything; people of Ghana want the truth and justice, you see, so if you don’t trust them, there’s a way of going about it, keep it in your head”.
“This whole thing is being broadcast live the international community gets to know that this is the language that is used in the Ghanaian Court, I mean clearly, it’s wrong”, he averred.
Mr. Addison then ripostes to the Bench by saying: “Well My Lord, I hear you except to say that far serious and stronger words have been used in this courtroom without any comment from the Bench; criminality has been used to apply to us, not a word came from anywhere”.
The President of the Bench, William Atuguba then stepped in to defend the rulings of the Court by saying: “…Its not everything that the Bench must specifically comment upon; sometimes a general statement is made that covers what has arisen”.
He also described as “unfair castigation” on the Bench, Mr. Addison’s insinuation of bias against the nine of them. Justice Atuguba also warned that the Bench may be compelled to invoke its powers to whip the bar into line.
Source: The Herald
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