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General News of Monday, 31 December 2012

Source: Larry Alans Dogbe/The Herald

Exposed: Akufo-Addo and Lawyers Goof With Election Figures

After almost three weeks of fishing for what it termed evidence to prove that the 2012 Presidential results declared by the Electoral Commission was fraught with ‘systemic stealing,’ the New Patriotic Party (NPP), arrived at the Supreme Court with a petition that demonstrates that either the party is mathematically challenged or intends to perpetrate fraud on the people of Ghana.

The Herald’s cursory look through the petition filed at the Supreme Court by the NPP, exposes the party’s deficiency in basic arithmetic, as it padded the ballots polled by the eight candidates in the 7th December Presidential elections by more than double a 1.342 million ballots it claims as tainted by irregularities and want annulled.

A simple calculation by The Herald, reveals that the NPP is either attempting to deceive the justices of the Supreme Court, by submitting that the total votes obtained by the presidential candidates is *14, 158,880 *as opposed to the Ten million nine hundred ninety five thousand two hundred and sixty two (*10,995,262*), rightly announced by Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan and subsequently gazetted or is in dire need of express quality education in mathematics.

The NPP, led by its Presidential Candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, his running mate Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia an Economist, and the National Chairman, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey have petitioned the Supreme Court, claiming that irregularities had marred the election results and therefore 1,342, 845 ballots cast should not count.

Lawyers for the three Petitioners, Akufo-Addo, Prempeh and Co., in a petition filed last Friday, December 28, claimed in paragraph 18[ii] that a total of *Fourteen million one hundred and fifty-eight thousand eight hundred and eighty (14, 158,880) *votes were cast in favour of the contesting presidential candidates.**

It is unclear to what end the figure, which has been inflated by over *Three million additional votes *(i.e. *3, 163,618*) *were to serve*, and whether the Nana Addo-led team of lawyers, including, Nana Asante Bediatuo, Ayikoi Otoo, Gloria Akuffo, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko,* *Egbert Faibille*. *Jnr and * *Godfred Yeboah Dame, had a hand in the calculations.

It becomes a mystery how the NPP arrived at the total it presented to the Supreme Court, considering that the Electoral Commission had done the addition of the figures polled by presidential candidates and announced same on December 9th.

The three Petitioner’s after filing their case at the Supreme Court, took to the gallery of the press some of the supposed evidence that they had presented to the court, with Second Petitioner, Dr. Bawumia, leading the act of ridiculing the EC with what the NPP claimed was shocking evidence.**

Nana Addo, an ex-Minister of Justice and Attorney General in the John Kufuor administration, has the penchant for filing before the courts, incompetent writs, giving some judges the easiest task of throwing him out at first glance.

One such instance is a case in which he sued Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata by filing the writ in the name of then President John Kufuor instead of the Republic of Ghana. The court threw out the writ, and advised him on the proper procedure to sue a citizen in a republic as the country was not practicing a monarchical rule.

Again, earlier as Attorney-General, Nana Addo was badly bruised by Tsatsu Tsikata, in a case in which the latter had challenged the legality of the establishment of the Fast Track Court. It took the intervention of then President John Kufuor, who, while in Australia, gave an edict for the decision to be reversed. A Supreme Court Judge, Mr. Justice Lamptey, who was receiving medical treatment in London, was recalled and Kufuor further promoted Mr. Justice Dixon Kwame Afreh, who was presiding over cases at the Fast Track Court, to the Supreme Court bench.

It was not surprising to many Ghanaians therefore that the decision was reversed. However, Nana Kofi Coomson, a veteran journalist, publisher of *The Chronicle* newspaper, and a member of the NPP was later to reveal that the address that got the decision on the annulment of the establishment of the fast-track court reversed was written for Nana Addo by Dr. Seth Twum, who was later to become a Supreme Court Judge.

Meanwhile, the NPP’s decision to add President John Dramani Mahama to its petition at the Supreme Court has been heavily criticized by one of the lawyers in its fold, the outspoken John Ndebugre.

According to the lawyer, the NPP’s decision to join President Mahama in the suit is in contravention of the provisions in Article 57 of the 1992 Constitution.

In an interview with *Citi FM’s* Citi News, Mr. Ndebugre cited a number of precedence to prove the president’s immunity from any legal action while serving in office.

“Clause 5 of article 57 of the 1992 constitution gives only absolute immunity to the President; it says that the President while he is in office is not liable to any civil or criminal proceedings in any court.”

“In the 1969 constitution the provision was tested in the case of Salla against Attorney General, it was held in that case that the President cannot be sued.”

Mr. Ndebugre said it was “the NPP that first tested this provision in the 1992 constitution, in the case of New Patriotic Party against Jerry Rawlings [former President]” adding “It was decided in that case the President could not be sued personally.”

Mr. Ndebugre also added that there was a flaw in the CI 78 which was being used as a defense in the decision to join the President in the suit.

“The CI 78 is inferior to an Act of Parliament, which is rather inferior to the constitution. Where the constitution says the person cannot be sued while in office and a subsidiary legislation says somebody who happens to be a candidate and who is being complained against; you can’t use that to supersede the provision of the constitution, which is the fundamental law of the land,” Ndebugre further submitted.

A member of the governing NDC’s legal team, Abraham Amaliba has said that the opposition NPP’s challenge of President Mahama’s victory at the highest court of the land, “will come to naught”.

The NPP on Friday formally begun its legal challenge of the electoral results, which the leadership of the party believed were rigged to favour incumbent President, John Mahama and petitioned the Supreme Court to nullify the declaration and invalidate some 1.342 million votes from the total valid votes cast.

The party said the electoral processes were fraught with irregularities deliberately created by President Mahama and the Electoral Commission, to ‘help’ him [Mahama] win the Presidential election.

Among the said irregularities listed by the NPP is that EC officials at some polling centres defied provisions of Constitutional Instrument (CI) 74, (3) which required voters to go through the biometric verification before they could vote, and allowed voters in some areas to cast their ballots even though the biometric verification devices could not authenticate their identities.

President Mahama, whose electoral victory is being challenged, is first respondent while the Electoral Commission is second respondent.

Speaking on *Joy FM’s* news analysis and current affairs programme, *News File* broadcast live on Joy News TV as well on Saturday, Mr. Amaliba said joining the president as first defendant in the suit, is in violation of Article 57 (5) of the constitution, which states; “The President shall not, while in office as President, be personally liable to any civil or criminal proceedings in court”.

According to him, although Mr. Mahama was a candidate in the just-ended elections held on December 7 and 8, 2012, his role as President will be distracted if he has to be going to court to defend himself.

Furthermore, Mr. Amaliba said the CI 74, (3) regulating the conduct of elections based on which the NPP is challenging the results, “cannot be used to deny a citizen of his right to vote”. He said “that law [CI 74 (3)], cannot stand toe-to-toe with the constitution”.

“Verification is not identification; it is simply to validate and ensure that the person is the one who is voting,” Mr. Amaliba stressed.

He demanded of the NPP to prove how the President colluded with the EC to manipulate the election results in his favour.

Responding to Mr. Amaliba, a leading member of the NPP, Kwabena Agyei Agyepong insisted his party’s petition “is standing on solid grounds”.

Mr. Agyepong maintained that, the fact that some red sheets came through without the signatures of the EC’s officials, means there were no presiding officers at the polling centers in question, which means the results are invalid and must therefore not be counted.

He said the NPP and its leadership could not condone a practice "where people go to queue and vote but their votes will not be counted”.

Meanwhile, veteran journalist, Mr. Kwesi Pratt Jnr. has criticized the NPP for seeking the annulment of the votes of over 1.3million Ghanaians. Speaking on *Radio Gold’s* current affairs programme, *Alhaji and Alhaji* on Saturday, Pratt stressed that the right to vote is a fundamental one granted by the Constitution and therefore it would be disingenuous for anyone to seek to disenfranchise people who had exercised that right based on administrative procedures.

The Herald’s checks at the Castle-Osu, on Sunday revealed that the petition had not been served on the President Mahama, who had taken time out after a vigorous and successful campaign. The Herald learnt that the petition had been erroneously served on the Chief of Staff at the Presidency, John Henry Martey Newman.

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