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Witness tussles with Attorney General, Frank Mbeta on logbooks

The Constitutional Court hearing the May 21 electoral case in Lilongwe has paraded a fourth witness, Bright Kawaga, UTM deputy director of elections.

Kawaga Tuesday told the court during cross-examination that his evidence was centred on findings of an inspection of logbooks at Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) warehouses.

According to Kawaga, the inspection exercise was done to gather evidence in support of issues highlighted in the electoral petition of the first petitioner, UTM leader Saulos Chilima.

Attorney General(AG) Kalekeni Kaphale asked the witness if he had a chance during the inspection exercise in Dubai to see a contract between Mec and a United Arab Emirates company contracted to print the ballot papers and other electoral materials in order to validate their claim that, during the election, there were fake results sheet.

Kawaga confirmed having monitored the printing exercise of the ballot papers in Dubai but did not get hold of the contract.

“You did not see what Mec told the printer to print yet you are talking about counterfeit papers,” Kaphale asked.

The AG also asked the witness to pronounce if matters recorded in the logbook covered issues of bribing of monitors during the elections, intimidation of monitors, influencing voters on voting of candidates, arrests of persons as indicated in the petition of the first petitioner Chilima.

Kawaga dismissed the existence of records on intimidation of monitors, unauthorised people being found with ballot papers but insisted having found matters relating to influencing voters on voting of candidates and arrests of persons at some polling centres mentioning Thekerani polling centre.

Kawaga dismissed the validity of nine documents that were hand-written despite the results matching all forms of result sheets.

“In absence of original copy, procedurally this was not right,” he said.

But Kaphale insisted on having an explaination on how printing of the results could have changed the valid votes.

Kawaga sustained his response of having a substandard form which Kaphale dismissed.

One of President Peter Mutharika’s lawyers Frank Mbeta also cross-examined Kawaga on the inspection of the printing process in Dubai particularly on the printing of tally sheets and logbooks, among otherthings.

Before Kawaga took over the witness box, the third witness in the electoral case Darlington Ndasauka Tuesday defended the existence of irregularities in May 21 tripartite elections.

During re-examination, Ndasauka said, in some polling centres, results were inflated, there was use of fake results sheets and many alterations which jeopardised the validity of the results.

Ndasauka told the court that at some polling centres such as Ulongwe Model School, Mwenyelondo and Phimbi School, results of valid votes were inflated for candidates.

Ndasauka further said there were too many alterations at some polling centres such as Dwangwa such that it became difficult to understand some figures.

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