The New Statesman

Ghana's Oldest Mainstream Newspaper

2012 Election Petition Hearing AFARI-GYAN MISLEADS SUPREME COURT? -He Can’t Explain Triplicate/Quadruplicate Pink Sheet Serial Numbers

Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman of the Electoral Commission, yesterday admitted before the Supreme Court sitting on the 2012 Presidential Election Petition that he could not explain the phenomenon of three, or sometimes four, polling stations having the same pink sheet serial number. This admission prompted a suggestion from lead counsel for the petitioners, Philip Addison, that the EC boss had misled the court since he had earlier in the trial stated that the EC printed only two sets of pink sheets.

Mr Addison confronted Dr Afari-Gyan with five sets of pink sheets. Three of the sets each had three different polling station pink sheets with the same serial number while two of the sets had four polling station pink sheets with the same serial number.

The star witness of the EC, after identifying the various sets and agreeing that they all had the same serial number, was asked to explain how that occurred. This was against the background that he had earlier tried to justify the occurrence of same serial numbers for two polling stations by informing the court that that phenomenon was due to the printing of two sets of pink sheets with the same serial numbers.

Dr Afari-Gyan stated that logically that should not have occurred, adding that he could not explain why it happened.

Mr Addison then suggested to the witness that on the basis of the available evidence, it was obvious that the EC printed at least four sets of pink sheets and that he had misled the court when he stated the printing of two sets of pink sheets as the justification for the occurrence of the duplicate serial numbers.

The occurrence of duplicate serial numbers, according to the petitioners, brings the integrity of the electoral process into question at polling stations where these duplicates occurred, arguing that each polling station should have a pink sheet bearing a unique serial number.

The petitioners in the ongoing petition have identified the occurrence of same serial numbers for different polling station pink sheets as one of the major irregularities to have affected the December 2012 presidential election.

According to Mahamudu Bawumia, their lead witness, the occurrence of same serial numbers seemed to have been the main vehicle for which all the other statutory and constitutional violations occurred, noting the close relationship between the occurrence of same serial numbers and other irregularities such as over voting, voting without biometric verification and no signature of presiding officers.

Dr Bawumia stated during his time in the witness box that duplicate serial numbers accounted for 75% of all polling stations affected by over voting while 77% of all polling stations where voting without biometric verification took place were also affected by duplicate polling stations.

Again, he stated that 75% of all pink sheets without the signature of the presiding officers were incidentally pink sheets with duplicate serial numbers.

Though the EC had earlier denied the occurrence of all the irregularities, including the occurrence of duplicate serial numbers, it later amended its answer to say that the occurrence of the same serial numbers occurred because the Commission printed two sets of pink sheets.

This explanation was brazenly defended by Dr Afari-Gyan in the witness box even though he had earlier, in his evidence in chief, stated that he did not know what the petitioners called serial numbers and that the numbers were embossed on the sheets by the printers without the consent of the EC.

While being cross-examined by Mr Addison, however, Dr Afari-Gyan shifted position several times on the matter. He stated at the onset that the serial numbers were embossed by the printers to check how many sheets had been printed, claiming that the numbers were not important. He eventually agreed that the numbers were requested by the EC but moved on to say that the pink sheets were not sensitive materials.

At a later stage, however, Dr Afari-Gyan stated that the EC printed two sets of pink sheets because it did not know the number of presidential aspirants for the December 7 elections when printing started.

However, the petitioners shot down this explanation, explaining that the pink sheets came with the exact list of the candidates for the December presidential election in the order they appeared on the ballot paper which was determined after filing and subsequent balloting by the candidates.

The revelation of triplicates and quadruplicates appear to cast further doubts the EC’s explanations for the phenomenon.

The first set of triplicate serial numbered pink sheets included Chief Bello Islamic School Zenu A polling station with polling station code C141004A, Apostolic Revelation Kakasunanka Number 1 A with polling station code C141102A and Baptist Church Adigon with polling station code C140602 all sharing the same serial number 025195.

The second set had DC JHS Pampramase Polling station with code A251103, DC Primary School Adeinkyee with polling station code A250908 and PBC Cocoa Shed Ntensere with polling station code A250908 all sharing the same serial number 018 708 while the third set had – Gurungu JHS Polling station with code K021302, Adelakope Somanya Polling station with code E041302 and Temporary Booth Tawonchele with code K021401.

The first set of quadruplicate serial numbered pink sheets includes Onyai-shi Polling station with code C140701, Katamansu Presbyterian Primary A with polling station code C140601A, Assembly of God Church, Ataa Saki B Polling station with code C141401B and Finger of God Church with code C140802 all sharing the same serial number 0025200.

The second set of quadruplicates includes Michel Camp JHS B with polling station code C141105B, Methodist Church Zenu B with code C140904B, Garrison Primary School Michel Camp No. 1 with polling station code C141104 and St. John Bosco Catholic with code C141403B all sharing the serial number 0025194.