The cross-examination of Dr Mahamudu Bawumia by Mr Tsatsu Tsikata followed the same pattern at the Supreme Court Thursday as it had done in the last two sittings, with the star witness in the election petition facing the uphill task of answering the same questions put to him.
The questions and answers related to repeated or duplicated pink sheets, the confirmation of the poll results by polling agents of the petitioners, no indication of any protests by the polling agents and the reading of the declared results on the face of the pink sheets.
But to those who did not understand the import of the exercise, it was boring and a waste of the court’s precious time.
While the lead counsel for the petitioners, Mr Phillip Addison, raised an objection regarding the piecemeal approach adopted by Mr Tsikata to dealing with pink sheets before they were tendered in evidence, Mr Tsikata, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) lead counsel, rather blamed the petitioners for the situation.
According to him, the petitioners were to blame for the situation because the respondents had been overwhelmed by so many duplicated pink sheets to deal with.
“We are doing our best in a situation which is not our making. The situation is the responsibility of the petitioners,’’ Mr Tsikata said.
The President of the court, Mr Justice William Atuguba, urged lawyers for the parties to sort things out, so that everything would be smooth sailing for Mr Tsikata to speed up proceedings.
Mr Tsikata had explained that he was not deliberately delaying proceedings but that he had a difficulty with different people having put things together.
“In a situation where they claim more than 11,000 pinks sheets are tainted with irregularities, no one can blame us. The situation is completely beyond our control,’’ he said.
From then on the questions related to duplicated or triplicated pink sheets tendered, whether or not the polling agents of the petitioners had confirmed the results by signing the pink sheets, no indication of any protests by the agents and reading of the declared results by the witness.
Dr Bawumia’s response had always been the same — that the signing of the pink sheets by their agents did not make what was illegal legal and that it only affirmed the information on the pink sheets.
Witness admitted that the duplications were a mistake and that the pink sheets involved were used once in their analysis.
He disagreed with counsel that the duplication of the exhibits was intended to give the impression that more than 11,000 exhibits had been filed by them and that what mattered was the number of pink sheets used in their analysis.
When counsel suggested to the witness that the petitioners deliberately duplicated the pink sheets to deceive the court, Dr Bawumia retorted that it was counsel who was deliberately misleading the court.
Some of the witness’ responses were seen by the court as going overboard and repetitive, to which Mr Addison said if the questions were repeated, the answers would follow suit.
Counsel suggested to the witness that indications of electronic and manual documents did not rationalise the issues as put by the petitioners, but the witness replied that the electronic data were more sanitised than the manua.
Counsel told the witness that his explanation of duplicated photocopies was neither here no there because there was a commissioner of oath’s stamp on them, but the witness disagreed and admitted that to be an error, as there was no attempt to deceive the court.
Both counsel and witness seemed to agree that the work was tedious after counsel had asked witness whether he had seen how tedious it was going through the pink sheets.
The witness agreed with counsel that on quite a number of the pink sheets exhibited there were blank spaces at places where the commissioner for oath should have stamped them.
Hearing continues next Monday.
Source: Daily Graphic
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