Live Text: Presidential Election Petition enters Day 37

The Supreme Court will settle scores with three people alleged to have made contemptuous comments when hearing of the Presidential Election Petition resumes, Tuesday.
Stephen Atubiga and Kwaku Boahen of the NDC, and Ken Kuranchie of the Daily Searchlight Newspaper, will attempt to convince the judges why they should not be committed to jail terms for comments deemed by the judges to be contemptuous.
It will be Day 37 of the hearing and promises to be dramatic, witty and just maybe another warning and sanctions.
11:00 The Judges have taken their seats and so have the counsel for all the parties.
The case is called. The lawyers introduce their team to the panel.
The official from KPMG Nii Amanor Dodoo mounts the witness box to be cross examined by Tony Lithur.
Tony Lithur: You marched exhibits in the Registrar’s copy against those with the controlled copy. You remember saying that?
Amanor Dodoo: Yes
Tony Lithur: Were there instances where polling station codes and exhibits numbers did not match?
Amanor Dodoo: That was so.
Tony Lithur says his cross examination is only to drum home the point that there was confusion in the labeling of exhibits. He says his checks indicate that polling station codes have been differently labelled.
He asks witness if he is aware about the fact that the petitioners have reduced the number of polling stations they are contesting.
Amanor Dodoo says he is not aware.
Tony Lithur: You are not aware that the Petitioners furnished this court with further particulars.
Amanor Dodoo says he is not aware.
Tony Lithur then says witness will therefore not be aware if the Petitioners have introduced a different set of pink sheets outside the further and better particulars they presented to the court.
Amanor Dodoo says they had to deal with the list of exhibits provided them by the Registrar and that of the controlled exhibits with the president. They cannot say whether or not other pink sheet exhibits were introduced.
1130 Lithur concludes his cross examination for the witness.
Quarshie Idun is up. He says in your cross examination you mentioned the number of exhibits that appeared only and those polling station codes that appeared once. The exhibit numbers that appeared once was 9504 and 5470 are the codes that appeared only once. Is that right.
Amanor Dodoo Yeah that is so.
Quarshie Idun: How does that relate to the total number of exhibits counted?
He said the total population of exhibits counted was 13,842. 1,145 of the exhibits could not be counted because they were not legible. For the exhibit numbers that appeared once from that lot was 9,504 which meant all the other exhibits had been repeated. He says there were unique polling station codes which also appeared once.
Quarshie-Idun: If you want to know how many single polling stations were filed, what will be the figure?
Amanor Dodoo: It will amount to 8675
Quarshie Idun concludes his cross examination.
Tsatsu Tsikata is up. He asks witness if the pink sheets to be audited were brought in boxes with labels on them.
Amanor Dodoo agrees in part. He says the exhibits came with envelopes but were put in a box.
Tsatsu Tsikata: In respect of the 1,545 exhibits which the referee considered as illegible was a decision taken by all the parties at the count right?
That is right, Amanor Dodoo agrees.
Tsatsu Tsikata: Everyday, as entry is made by the referee, a copy is given to each of the parties and they acknowledge being part of that process, is that right?
That is so Amanor Dodoo agrees.
Tsikata takes witness to a page of the Referee’s report on the audit and says at no point of the process of the count did any of the Petitioner’s rep suggest that any entry made was in error.
Amanor Dodoo: The Petitioners’ reps did not point out any error.
Tsatsu Tsikata: At no point did they say the Registrar’s set was an incomplete set.
Amanor Dodoo: All parties agreed.
Tsikata cites a page in the report by the referee in which mention is made of the repetition and duplications and overlaps.
Amanor Dodoo agrees.
Tsatsu Tsikata according to you these information were gotten from the registrar.
Amanor Dodoo yes it was gotten from the Registrar as representing what the Petitioners filed.
Tsikata reads portions of the Report which says there had been an addition of pink sheet exhibits by the Petitioners.
Amanor Dodoo agrees. He says according to the Registrar, the Petitioners had come to provide details of the exhibits which were not available to the Registrar at the time.
Tsikata then asks if it is the knowledge of the witness the Petitioners came after they had officially filed their documents.
Witness says he will presume so.
Tsikata takes witness through portions of the pages of the Report in attempt to expose what he says are interesting trends and “elements”. He suggests to witness that from 1-170 of the report which ends at sheet 171, the exhibit numbers are also exhibit numbers found in other pages of the report and yet in those same exhibit numbers have a different set of polling station names.
Amanor Dodoo says that is how they have been captured on the pink sheet exhibits.
One of the judges intervenes. She says if Tsikata has some challenges with the report he has to make those challenges known to the court in his address rather than asking the witness to confirm the details in his own report.
Tsikata suggests to witness that in the report there are same exhibit numbers but different polling station names.
Amanor Dodoo agrees.
Tsikata asks if some of the exhibits were repeated five in some cases six times.
Amanor Dodoo agrees.
Tsikata asks if witness can confirm that some polling station code number was repeated 23 times.
That is so, Amanor Dodoo agrees.
Tsikata mentions another pink sheet exhibit which he claims had been used ten times. In the first five times in which it was used, a different polling station name was given which was different from the polling station names in the last five times it was used.
Tsatsu Tsikata: It is clear that it is these repetitions that have accounted for the increase in exhibits from 8,675 to 13,000. Is that right
That is so, Amanor Dodoo confirms. Tsikata goes further to ask if the accurate figure the court should be dealing with is 8,675.
That is so, Amanor Dodoo says.
Atuguba conditionally discharges witness.
Special Guests
Justice William Atuguba says before the court will return and deal with issues relating to the three special guests.
Court rises; will return at 2:00
Court returns
NDC’s Stephen Atubiga has been called by the court clerk. He walks into the dock.
He is asked if he has received a summon from the court. He says yes.
The court clerk reads out loud the letter of summons to the hearing of the court.
Atuguba asks him if he has anything to say about what was read. He says he agrees with the content of the summons and takes responsibility for the comment attributed to him.
Right to counsel
Atuguba reminds him that he has a right to counsel. Tsikata steps up.
Tsikata says Atubiga has withdrawn and apologised unconditionally for the comment he made and should be given an opportunity to apologise before the court.
Atubiga says “i apologise for my irresponsible statement. I started apologising way before i was summoned.” If i am given another chance, i will not repeat that. I take full responsibility for the comments i made. If i have crossed the line i apologise. He asks the court to tamper justice with mercy.
One of the judges expresses surprise at the comments by Atubiga. He says for a man who appears to be learned he ought not to have made such comments.
Another judge asks Atubiga to repeat the words he uttered.
Atubiga, with his head lowered, says he has sworn not to utter those words anymore. He says he is a father an a husband and should be a role model to his children.
Atuguba asks Atubiga if he was asked any question at all on the platform on which he made those comments
Atubiga says it was one of the bad days on a platform. He was irresponsible and ought to chosen his words carefully. He says any platform he gets, he will seize the opportunity to apologise and conscientise people against making such comments.
Atuguba says they have noticed that some politicians think they are too clever and stubborn and with the executive power they think they can do all they want. There are three arms of government and the judiciary can also bite.
“I am just a poor boy from Binduri,” he says, even though he has lived in the US for over a decade.
Justice William Atuguba makes reference to the failed ambition of Atubiga to become the MP for Binduri. Is it the kind of leadership you were planning to give? Create confusion and the poor people will suffer? Atuguba asks. No, he answers. On behalf of those poor people we will not allow that to happen.
Tsatsu Tsikata is up again apologising on behalf of Atubiga. He says they will not cover-up for bad behavior but says the court should tamper justice with mercy.
Tony Lithur also joins the chorus, apologising for Atubiga.
Atubiga says he comes from a war torn village and should have known the repercussions of the comments he made.
Quarshie Idun also pleads with the judges to be lenient.
Atuguba asks Atubiga what his level of education. He says he is a “professional” electrician and a business man. He says sarcastically that with the conduct of Atubiga he can easily burn markets.
Presiding Judge asks him to stand by as Kweku Boahen, his ‘partner in crime’, is also called into the dock.
Kweku Boahene
Boahene walks into the dock. His letter of summons is read to him.
Atuguba asks if he has any comment. He says the comments attributed to him are false and meant to dent his credibility. He says he has not made any such statement. He asks the Court to conduct an investigation into the matter. He also makes reference to an apology rendered by the Daily Statement in its July 2, 2013 edition to him for wrong attribution.
Tsatsu Tsikata cites some of the media houses for misrepresentation. He says the media houses must be made clear about the authority of the court and the orders it has given.
Kweku Boahene is asked to resume his seat.
Ken Koranchie
The Editor of the Daily Searchlight newspaper is called. He walks into the dock.
William Atuguba asks if he has been served with the summons and whether he understands it.
Ken Koranchie admits he has been served a copy.
Atuguba asks if he has a lawyer. Yes he answers.
Atta Akyea steps up to represent Ken Koranchie together with Yaw Owusu Addo and Kofi Boakye.
Atta Akyea says the piece by Korankye only sought to ask questions of the Supreme Court as to what to comment on and what not to comment on.
There is no trace that Ken Koranchie is trying to prejudice the court in his editorial, he says. He says he is confused as to why his client has hauled.
One of the judges agrees in part to the views by Atta Akyea but says another part of the editorial by Ken Koranchie which makes reference to any lose talker subtly accuses the panel of being bias.
He wonders why Ken Koranchie will cite the panel for bias at a time when Sammy Awuku, whose interest he sought to protect had apologised for the comments he made.
The judges ask Atta Akyea to resume his seat to allow Ken Koranchie to speak.
Ken Koranchie says he wants to know what his charge is before he can explain.
One of the judges accuses him of wanting to be a hero and taking the judges for a ride. The judge asks him to explain what he means by a charge sheet.
Atta Akyea intervenes. He says his client is a lay person. He pleads to the court to over look the legalese of his client and allow him just five minutes to explain himself.
Ken Koranchie goes ahead. He says his editorial was to seek direction from the court as to what constitutes commentaries. He says it will be unethical to misreport but then the media houses have every right to comment on rulings given by the court. He says their editorial was a comment on the ruling on the Sammy Awuku.
Atta Akyea pleads with the court to allow him approach his client. The court grants him that opportunity.
Together with Yaw Owusu Addo and Kofi Boakye, the counsel, approach Ken Koranchie and whisper words to him.
Ken Koranchie then proceeds by saying if the court considers his editorial as wrong he wants to apologise.
One of the judges take issues with the “if” used by Koranchie.
He says is the apology by Ken Koranchie conditional.
Koranchie again repeats that if his editorial is considered wrong then he apologises for it.
Atta Akyea intervenes. He says it appears his client does not understand the cue being given by the judge.
Atuguba says for an editor of newspaper he should understand that.
Atta Akyea says there are things he obviously does not know and understand, including a charge sheet.
Atuguba says the witness must be allowed to express his opinion freely without any form of coercion.
Ken Koranchie comes again. He says “it seems” as though his editorial is causing some problems and he aplogises.
Atta Akyea in a carefully selected words prays the court to be lenient in whatever decision they take against his client. He says his client has apologised for his comments and that must be taken into consideration.
The court goes on recess to allow the panel take a decision on the people who appeared before them.
Atuguba rules that Atubiga has expressed remorse for his utterances. But because his utterances are serious he has been sentenced to three days in prison.
But Ken Koranchie has expressed no remorse for his comments. The comments were made with intent and left the judges with no doubt that he Koranchie supports the allegations made by Sammy Awuku that they the judges were selective and hypocritical. He says for Koranchie to support comments apologised for by Sammy Awuku shows clearly his intent and contempt to the court.
In view of his belligerent stance the court has found him guilty of “criminal contempt” and has accordingly been sentenced to ten days imprisonment.
Boahen has been discharged.
The court adjourns hearing to tomorrow.
Ken Koranchie together with Mr Atubiga are being handcuffed by a team of police men and led to the van to be driven to the prison.
Credit: Myjoyonline

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