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15.12.2008 Elections

Ablekuma South results in dispute

By Daily Graphic
Ablekuma South results in dispute
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he NPP parliamentary candidate for Ablekuma South in the just-ended elections, Mr Francis Kojo Sackey Smith, has filed a writ at an Accra Fast Track High Court for the results of the parliamentary election in the constituency to be withheld until a recount is properly conducted.

The writ of summons filed on Friday, December 12, 2008 also sought, among others, that the court declared the results announced by the first defendant, the Electoral Commission (EC) as null and void.

Mr Smith is also seeking a perpetual injunction that will restrain the EC and the second defendant, Mr Atitso, a Returning Officer of the EC, from further declarations in respect of the results of Ablekuma South.

He is also asking for the third defendant, Mr Fritz Baffour, to refrain from holding himself as the elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Ablekuma South and a declaration that he, Mr Smith, is the true winner of the election.

In his statement of claim, Mr Smith said in the presidential and parliamentary elections of December 7, 2008, he won in more than 75 of the 139 polling stations in the constituency.

The polling stations where he won also had a higher voter turnout than the ones he lost in.

He said after the counting of the ballots after voting on that day, he had a commanding lead and the third defendant, Mr Baffour, conceded defeat on air at 2.00 p.m. on December 8, 2008.

He said when the polling station executives sent the ballot boxes and the tally sheets to the collation centre, he was forcibly prevented by armed soldiers and policemen from entering the centre, although he had the right by law to be there.

Despite several protests, the second defendant, Mr Atitso, and his representatives were consciously prevented from being present at the counting and some of the results slips were allegedly snatched from them by the supporters of the third defendant, Mr Baffour.

He said as a result of that, neither he nor his representatives were present at the counting, as required by law.

He said it was not until 8.00 a.m. on December 8, 2008 when he got access to the collation centre where Mr Atitso told him that the counting had been done in his absence.

Mr Smith said he immediately protested and requested for a recount, which was declined, amidst commotion and threats from the supporters of the third defendant.

He then lodged a formal complaint at the district office of the EC.

Mr Smith said at the polling station level, the tally showed that he had obtained more than 56,000 votes, while the third defendant had in the region of more than 50,000 votes.

When the results were, however, announced, the third defendant was rather credited with the 56,000 votes, while the plaintiff had 50,000 votes.

He said his assertion was further supported by the fact that in the presidential election, the NPP candidate won with 50,000 votes, with that of the NDC gaining 49,000.

Mr Smith, therefore, alleged that the second and third defendant committed fraud.

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