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Aug 2013

The Supreme Court hearing the Presidential Election Petition yesterday set August 29, 2013 as the date for the judgment on the matter.

The date for judgment was announced by Mr Justice William Atuguba, President of the Panel, after the judges had sought clarifications from counsels for both petitioners and respondents.

The clarifications from the parties were intended to explain aspects of their earlier oral submissions as the Court winds up hearing of the petition challenging the election of President John Dramani Mahama.

Justice Atuguba asked Mr Philip Addison, Counsel for petitioners, about the re-categorization of the exhibits submitted to the Court.

Mr Addison said the number of polling stations the petitioners were relying on was 10,119.

He said the petitioners begun with 11,842 set out in their further and better particulars and had deleted 704 voluntarily down to 10,119 polling stations.
He said the criteria for including it in the exhibit was that it should be captured in the Further and Better Particulars, captured in the KPMG report or used by the respondents or it should not be part of the 704 deleted, adding that the analysis in each polling station was used once.

Mr Atuguba asked Mr James Quarshie-Idun, Counsel for second respondent, about the statutory consequences about electoral irregularities that he identified in his address.  

Mr Quarshie-Idun explained that ROPAL (Representation of Peoples Amendment Law), which provides that a high court hearing an election petition would uphold an election conducted in accordance with its provisions.

Justice Baffoe Bonney also inquired from Mr Tony Lithur, Counsel for first respondent, why he said the failure to go through biometric verification did not go with any dire consequence. 
Mr Lithur stated that biometric verification was a process of capturing biometric data which involved person’s picture.
He said the purpose was to identify if a person was eligible and added that once the process of registration was done, then a person’s right to vote was activated.

He said even if a person’s finger print could not be identified but his face, then there was the discretionary power to allow him to vote, adding that finger-print verification was not the only form of verification.

He said the claim by the petitioners that since a person’s finger print was not verified then it meant people voted without biometric verification was false.

Justice Atuguba also asked Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, Counsel for third respondent, to clarify his submission on the retroactive application of the law and invalidation of the results.

Mr Tsikata in his submission stated that the interpretation of Article 49 should not by any stretch of imagination lead to the annulment of votes.

He said both the party agent and presiding officer held it a duty to sign and if they failed to dispatch their duties, it does not mean votes should be annulled.

He said the law frowned on penalizing people retroactively, adding that one could not seek to penalize the presiding officer if there was no specific law mandating so, much less to seek to penalize the voter who had no role to play in the presiding officer's failure to uphold the law.

Source: GNA