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Presiding officers can accept unstamped ballots – Dr Afari Gyan

 

Accra, June 12, GNA - Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan, Chairman of the Electoral Commission and witness for the second respondent, on Wednesday stated that Presiding officers have the discretion to accept ballots that has not been stamped.

     He said even though it has not been stated anywhere in the EC manual, there is a general rule which says that the presiding officer takes general oversight over all that happens.

     Dr Afari Gyan made the revelation when Mr Philip Addison, Counsel for the Petitioners continued his cross-examination of the witness.

     When asked by Mr Addison whether failure by the presiding officer to stamp a ballot paper makes that particular vote irregular, Dr Afari Gyan answered by saying that failure by the presiding officer to stamp a ballot does not invalidate that vote.

     When the witness asked again whether presiding officers could be induced not to sign the pink sheets, Dr Afari Gyan explained that interested parties could induce the presiding officer not to sign.

     He also denied claims by Mr Addison that some polling agents were seen signing blank pink sheets even before the election actually started including a purported Metro TV footage of observers who saw polling agents signing pink sheets when voting had not begun.

     Dr Afari Gyan further stated that the EC did everything to ensure that there were no duplications of names in the final voters register adding that the Commission did its best to delete all multiple registrations.

     Mr Addison at that juncture presented a document for witness to identify, which Dr Afari Gyan identified as the voters register for Adaklu Constituency but said he cannot be sure if this was the same register presented for the election.

     Mr Addison then explained that the register (hard copy) which was given to the witness to identify was printed from the soft copy provided by the EC, but Dr Afari Gyan however insisted that the EC provided the parties with hard copies, but Mr Addison denied that the NPP was given a hard copy.

      Dr Afari Gyan said he would have to check first and offered to take the register home to do the checking, but Mr Addison, who was not happy with the turn of events, resisted by saying he would not allow witness to take the register home.

     He retorted by saying that if the second respondent does not trust them, they will also not trust the second respondent, adding that, the second respondent has so far been untruthful and he cannot trust them. The same way they do not trust him.

     Justice Baffoe Bonney, who was not happy with the banter cautioned Mr Addison to be careful with his choice of language since the whole world was watching Ghana.

     Justice William Atuguba, President of the Panel also cautioned both counsels for the petitioners and respondents that they have had enough of the mudslinging.

     He said they have wiped the slate clean of all unethical behaviours by the Bar, adding that, from now on they would crack the whip if a member of the Bar behaves in unethically.

     The case has been adjourned to tomorrow, June 13, 2013.

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