Day 34 of Election Petition: Audited pink sheet exhibits takes centre stage

After a ten day break, hearing of the Presidential Election Petition challenging the results of the 2012 elections resumes at the Supreme Court this morning.
It will be day 34, a day in which the court will attempt to put to rest the controversy on the total number of pink sheet exhibits submitted by Petitioners.
Referee and international audit firm, KPMG is ready with its final report on the audited pink sheet exhibits and will make its findings known to the panel.
Proceedings begin
The panel of judges have taken their seats on the bench. The counsel for all parties have also taken their seats. One after the other, beginning with the Petitioners, the lead counsel introduce to the court the team of lawyers.
President Atuguba invites comments from the counsel on the KPMG report.
Tsikata is up. He says they have received draft copies from KPMG and a meeting held. But he would rather the official report is submitted by KPMG so they can compare the if is similar to the draft copy in their possession.
Tony Lithur supports the views shared by Tsikata and so too does Quarshie Idun of the EC.
Addison says they will need more time to study. He says they made comments on the draft report submitted by the referee and they will want to check if their comments have been incorporated in the final report.
Atuguba suggests that parties consent to the final copy without having to drag officials of KPMG to the dock to answer questions as to what went into the audit. He says his suggestion is informed by the fact that the parties were involved in the process all the way through but adds if it is the view and desire of the parties to want to cross examine officials of KPMG they have a right so to do. He is convinced no matter the regime of the law of evidence a country uses parties can agree to a report by consent.
An official of KPMG, Nii Amanor Dodoo is called to tender the report before the court. He is made to swear an oath. He is asked his mission and he struggles to explain albeit, admitting that he is under a bit of pressure because he is mounting the dock for the first time.
He says he is submitting 15 copies of a five volume document to the Registrar for onward submission to the parties and the panel.
He tenders the document. The parties raises no objection as document is tendered. Amanor Dodoo appears drenched already in sweat and he is wiping the tears.
With gratitude of the court, Atuguba discharges Amanor Dodoo but says he may be recalled to the box if the parties so wish to have some clarity on issues.
Tsikata commends KPMG. Lithur, Quarshie-Idun and Addison all share in the sentiments of the third Respondent.
Atuguba asks Addison if he has completed the cross-examination of witness of the Second Report, pending the report of the audited pink sheets.
Addison says the conclusion of their cross examination hinges on the audited pink sheets and therefore they need about two days to study the report.
Lithur says two days is a bit on a high side. He would rather the Petitioners use today to study the report today and return tomorrow. That is a suggestion and not an imposition.
Quarshie-Idun associates with the views by Lithur and so too does Tsatsu Tsikata.
Tsikata adds that all parties have been presented with the draft copies of the report and nothing much, except a brief summary has been added. He adds that two days to study the report is unjustifiable.
Addison says he understands why the first and third Respondents want only a day to study the report because they made little comments on the draft copy. However, he says the Petitioners have made substantial comments on the draft report and they have to satisfy themselves that these comments have been incorporated in the final report. He says they will be the last persons to want to delay the process.
Justice Baffoe Bonnie asks Addison to explain what he means by two clear days.
Addison says they will need Tuesday and Wednesday to peruse the report which means they can return on Thursday.
Bonnie says the two clear days appears to be a bit too much.
Drama on Electronic Copy
The Petitioners ask for electronic copy to facilitate the perusal of the document.
Lithur is up with a vehement opposition. He says it was agreed at a meeting that all parties will be given a hard copy and a soft copy will be kept under lock. He will not accept the call for a soft copy to be provided the Petitioners.
Addison is up. He does not understand why there will be an opposition to their harmless request. He says the Petitioners need a soft copy and have asked for it. If the Respondents don’t need it there is not need asking for it but they cannot object to the provision.
Quarshie Idun agrees with the sentiment of Lithur. He adds that if the Petitioners want a soft copy they can as well scan the hard copy into soft copy.
Tsatsu Tsikata is up. He says it was agreed before the process started that only hard copies will be given and it is for good reason. He says in order not to compromise the report it was agreed soft copies will not be given. He said for a court that saw hard copies increase in number, it is dangerous to have soft copies.
Atuguba recalls the official of KPMG Nii Dodoo into the dock and asks the KPMG position on the issue.
Risk Management
Nii Dodoo says ordinarily KPMG does not give soft copies to the parties they work for due to risk management issues.
He says they categorically mentioned to the parties during the audit that they will not give soft copies out, however, if the parties do understand any issue on how results of something were reached KPMG is ready to take the parties through the process.
Addison is up. He says the final report is not the property of KPMG but the state and therefore they cannot impose their procedures on the state. He adds there was no such agreement with the parties that final reports will not be provided in soft copies.
Nii Dodoo says the agreement was in general terms. That soft copies will not be given out whether it is a draft copy or a final copy.
Nii Dodoo is discharged. Judges ponder over the issue.
By 7-2 ruling the request by Petitioners is rejected. Case is adjourned to June 26.
Another warning
President Atuguba warns again. He says they have given several warnings but have not taken action.
Unacceptable statements made by counsel and the media. They will not accept the situation.
Accordingly they have taken the position that any person be it in the media or not who crosses the final touchline of proper coverage reportage will be met with the appropriate response. He says that is uphold the authority of the state.
He cites a Daily Guide report which made reference to a found box of pink sheets in his custody. That report is unacceptable, he adds. He also makes reference to the contents of the final report by KPMG which is already in the public domain when the court has not received it. Case adjourned.
Credit: Myjoyonline

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