Reports reaching Daily Guide indicate that KPMG, the reputable international accounting firm chosen by all the parties to count the number of Pink sheets used as exhibits in the landmark presidential Election petition, has found 13,900 of the documents.
It was unclear as at the time of going to press if the exercise had been completed, but it was likely to confirm the petitioners’ case that they indeed, attacked the 11,842 as exhibits.
The issue of how many pink sheets was attached as exhibit in the case became very contentious with the respondents insisting that they did not receive all the further and better particulars as directed by the court.
The request to count the pink sheets was initially made by the National Democratic Congress (NDC), before the court. With the consent of all the parties in the petition, an order was given by the court for an independent referee to conduct the exercise.
Just as KPMG commenced the exercise in the presence of two observers each from the parties a ordered by the court, the NDC, through its lead counsel Tsatsu Tsikata, came to court with a story that the exhibits had been compromised and that the boxes containing the pink sheets had increased from 24 to 31.
In fact, the allegation over whether or not the boxes of the exhibits had been tampered with started right after the court’s sitting on Monday, May 20, when news broke that Mr. Tsikata, Tony Lithur who represents President John Dramani Mahama and later James Quarshie-Idun representing the Electoral Commission (EC), had gate-crashed the venue for the counting and requested the Supreme Court panel chairman Justice William Atuguba to review the order of the court.
According to Mr. Tsikata, there were alleged criminalities involved and as a result, they would prefer an extended control mechanism that would take into consideration copies served on at least two panel members to compare that with the pink sheets at the court’s registry.
The issue of whether the petition was being unduly delayed had come up strongly since Mr. Tsikata took over the cross-examaination of the principal witness, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, who is also the 2nd petitioner. And many were of the view that the brouhaha over the pink sheets was part of the ploy to drag the process.
Mr. Tsikata, whose client came into the petition by way of joinder, was in his 13th day of cross-examination even though NDC’s co-respondents including President John Dramani Mahama and the Electoral Commission (EC) used about three days each to conclude a similar exercise.
Just as he was winding up on his cross-examination, he brought another motion, seeking to cross-examine some of the witnesses who filed affidavits in support of the petitioners’ case; but the court threw him out, together with President Mahama and the EC who made similar applications.
Mr. Tsikata however, had always denied criticisms that his style of cross-examination was designed to delay the process, often accusing the petitioners of presenting exhibits that forced the respondents to ‘dig deep’ in order to counter the petitioners’ claims.
When the NDC complained to the court, the nine-member panel chaired by Justice William Atuguba rejected their attempt to halt the counting exercise.
The court ruled that KPMG should continue with the exercise and any concerns that would be raised by the parties incorporated into the final report.
The accounting firm had the duty of “specifying in respect of each pink sheet, polling station name and its code number and exhibit number if any,” the court stated.
“In doing so the said referee should make a true and faithful count of the said exhibits of pink sheets according to and under the various categories of alleged electoral malpractices in issue before this court.”
The court said the professional fees to be charged by KPMG should be shared equally between the parties and added that each party was at liberty to choose two representatives for the counting exercise as observers.
KPMG, however, opted to do the counting free of charge.
Source: Daily Guide