EC to investigate attempts to sign Pink Sheets at Savelugu
The Electoral Commission (EC) says it will investigate the circumstances under which its returning officer at Savelugu in the Northern Region invited presiding officers to validate some unsigned pink sheets containing records of voting in the last election.
Acting Public Affairs Director at the EC Christian Owusu Parry told Joy FM's Super Morning Show Monday that the Commission is in the process of inviting its officers who were arrested Sunday and later granted bail in connection with the case to explain their actions in Accra.
He said the Commission is concerned that the officers involved did not exercise good judgment in their attempts to obtain post-facto signatures on the pink sheets, especially given that the outcome of the elections is being challenged in a court of law.
The pink sheets contain records of the number of ballots issued at a polling station on voting day, the total number of votes, the ballot account and the number of votes obtained by each candidate. The presiding officer at each polling station must sign all pink sheets.
Sunday, police in Savelugu arrested three EC officers for attempting to procure signatures to validate some pink sheets that were not signed by presiding officers at the close of polls last December.
The arrest followed an alarm raised by supporters of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), which is alleging fraud in the election.
The party has petitioned the Supreme Court of Ghana to nullify President John Dramani Mahama's declaration as winner of last year's election.
Mr Owusu Parry said because the case is in court, the officers ought to have been careful and should not do anything to create the impression that evidence is being tampered with.
However, he insisted that the attempt to get a signature on the unsigned pink sheets did not go to core of the case in court because it did not concern the doctoring of the figures on the sheets.
Mr Owusu Parry said that although some pink sheets may have been left unsigned, that does not invalidate the votes from those polling stations because party agents endorsed those sheets during the elections.
NPP Communication Director Nana Akomea disagreed.
He said the attempt to validate the pink sheets is the clearest testament yet to the validity of the issues raised by the three NPP leaders – Nana Akufo-Addo, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and Jake Obtsebi-Lamptey - in their petition to the Supreme Court.
He said that a major plank of the NPP's case was that thousands of pink sheets had not been signed as required by the electoral laws of the country and were therefore invalid.
The belated attempt to sign them, he said, aimed to right the wrong that the NPP is addressing through its petition.
He called it curious that the EC, which in its response to the petition denied that any pink sheets had been considered valid when unsigned, was now seeking to procure signatures on the sheets.
He said the petitioners would notify the Supreme Court of the attempt to tamper with evidence in the custody of the EC.
Nana Akomea expressed gratitude to the NPP supporters whose vigilance led to the arrests but urged them not to take the law into their own hands, asking them to rather allow the security agencies to do their work.