23 January 2013

Ghana: Akufo-Addo Opposes EC's Request for Detailed Info On 'Irregularities'

Nana Akufo-Addo, the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 2012 general election, has opposed the request by the Electoral Commission (EC) for further documents in the petition contesting the results of the presidential polls.

He said the EC "ought not be permitted to employ an application for further and better particulars to compel the petitioners to disclose the nature of evidence petitioners intend to lead during the trial."

The EC filed a motion on January 15, 2013, praying the Supreme Court to direct the petitioners to furnish it with "further and better" particulars of polling stations the alleged irregularities took place.

But Nana Akufo-Addo, who is one of the petitioners challenging the declaration of President Mahama as the winner of the polls, issued an opposing affidavit dated January 21, 2013, in which he requested that the court to dismiss the EC's request.

A hearing on the EC's motion for further particulars has been scheduled for January 29, 2013.

According to the NPP's affidavit in opposition to the EC's request, the EC already had in its possession originals of the declaration forms and for that reason it need not request further particulars from the petitioners.

The original petition to the Supreme Court, dated December 28, 2012 and filed by Nana Akufo-Addo, his running mate Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia and NPP Chairman Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, states among other things that irregularities recorded at 4,709 polling stations favoured John Mahama, who was later declared winner and inaugurated.

According to the petitioners, 24,000 pink results sheets from various polling stations indicate that the 2012 electoral irregularities were substantial enough to affect the outcome of the election. The EC has denied the claims, describing the election results as credible and accurate.

Joined to the petition as a respondent is the winner of the presidential polls, President Mahama, who has also denied the petitioners' claims and insisted he won the election freely, fairly and in the full glare of the media, domestic and international observers.

Meanwhile, in a 6-3 decision yesterday, the Supreme Court allowed the NDC to join the petition as a third respondent.

The court was of the view that "it will be in the interest of justice" to allow the NDC to join the petition since the outcome of the case will have a direct bearing on the party.

According to the court, the fortunes of the NDC and those of the President were "tied together" and it was therefore important for the NDC to be allowed to join the petition to assist the court as it gets to the bottom of the matter.

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