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80% poll results altered— witness

STILL WAITING—Chakwera (centre) flanked by MCP Northern Region vice president Harry Mkandawire (left) and former State vice president Khumbo Kachali

Malawi Congress Party (MCP)’s third witness in the election case, Peter Lackson, has told the court that almost 80 percent of results sheets that Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) used in the May 21 2019 tripartite elections were altered with an aim of concealing errors.

Lackson Tuesday during re-examination by lawyer representing MCP president Lazarus Chakwera, Modecai Msisha, demonstrated to the court how missing votes in some polling centres were allegedly covered at constituency tally centre to balance the figures.

For instance, in his alleged calculations and analysis, Lackson found out that 17 votes went missing from a polling stream of a particular polling centre but the votes were shared among other streams on the constituency tally sheets to balance the total number of votes cast.

“The streams were tampered with Tipp-Ex even when other streams were correctly calculated. This was done to cover the missing votes. This has affected a good number of centres,” he said

He further told the court that in some cases, votes were missing on other candidates but were found on the last result sheet that Mec had used.

He cited Kamwala School where the record logbook showed that Democratic Progressive Party candidate President Peter Mutharika and United Democratic Front’s Atupele Muluzi had no votes but Mec used a result sheet that indicated 409 and six valid votes for the candidates, respectively.

“There were a number of logbooks that showed the same. About 1,055 votes were from unknown sources,” he said

Lackson also told the court that over 70 presiding officers altered results in the absence of party monitors and that the officers also signed forms without the party monitors.

Msisha also took Lackson through the use of logbooks to, among others, ascertain the importance of each aspect of the logbook and what statistical impact they may have on the data of valid votes

During the cross-examination, one of the lawyers representing Mutharika, Tamando Chokotho, objected to the use of cross- reference by witness, an objection that Justice Ivy Kamanga dismissed.

Meanwhile, MCP is today parading a fourth witness Anthony Bendulo who was also part of the Information Technology experts at the party’s parallel tally centre.

The court yesterday failed to immediately cross over to the fourth witness as he was reportedly late.

Msisha asked for a 15-minute break to allow the witness to report to the court. However, the court adjourned for Wednesday.

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