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Mec deleted data—witness

The sixth and last witness of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) in the election case, Daud Suleman, claimed that Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) deleted some election’s data from their server.

Suleman, who started testifying Thursday in the Constitutional Court in Lilongwe, is using Mec’s system and server used in the May 21 tripartite election to prove an assertion that the commission provided different data to MCP when the party went for disclosure in July 2019, as compared to what Mec had in its server.

Suleman has been allowed to demonstrate and simulate his evidence in the court using PowerPoint and the commission’s server

Chairperson of the panel of judges presiding over the case Healey Potani emphasised that the demonstration should be backed up by what was contained in his sworn statement.

The witness in his earlier presentation said using the relation type of database Mec has used, he found unrelated data which raised suspicion.

“When we went for disclosure, they [Mec] provided [us] with data base schemer. Three tables have relationship broken which is contrary to the database. Either, it was designed badly or some pieces were deleted. Deleting the tables messed up the relation between the tables,” Suleman said.

But Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale, objected to Suleman’s statement saying it was making supposition by not giving any indication of what was deleted and that it was not in the witness’ statement.

But Potani overruled Kaphale’s objection and allowed Suleman to continue with his presentation.

“Connected to the above gross anomalies we found that no audit trails for user activity or any record to help track activities of all users from the beginning to end in the system which either means that the system was deliberately disabled from tracking system activities or the records were deleted at the time the information was being handed over to us. In either case, the absence of audit trail is a very serious and unusual anomaly,” Suleman said

He further asked Mec to log in into the system for restoration of data from a backup to do a comparison of data that would come out and data that is coming out when they restore data that was given to MCP IT experts

Kaphale also argued that the witness was amplifying his evidence when it was observed that the Mec bench did not have the data he wanted to compare with, an objection that the judge’s bench also overruled.

Lawyer Frank Mbeta, representing President Peter Mutharika, also objected arguing that the witness did not give an indication that it will be data loaded into the system.

“It was not indicated on the paragraph. It a technical area and we needed to be properly guided,” he said

The court adjourned to today after it noted technical glitches when Suleman had asked technical people to back up the commission’s data before he logged in using the data he was provided with.

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