The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, has commenced investigations into reports that the running mate of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, broke electoral laws in the just-ended voters’ register exhibition exercise.
The governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), which made the claims against Dr. Bawumia, alleged that he induced two electoral officers in Walewale in the Upper West Region, with a sum of GHc 10, 000, to bring verification materials to his residence to verify him.
The two EC officials identified as Jobe Ambrose and Mumuni Latifa were subsequently relieved off their duties by the EC, even before a full investigation was carried out into the claims.
The NDC proceeded to lodge a complaint with the Walewale District Police to investigate the matter.
Speaking to Citi News, the Northern Regional Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Ebenezer Tetteh, disclosed that the CID has taken over investigations into the matter.
“A complaint was lodged with the Walewale police, and the CID in the Northern Region has taken statements from the verification officer of the EC and one other officer. As we speak, they are even in the jurisdiction doing further investigations. As and when we need to put anything out there, we will do so,” he indicated.
NPP debunks claims
When the allegations first surfaced, the NPP condemned as “desperate” the National Democratic Congress’ “schemes and claims in attempt to soil the image” of its running mate.
The NPP in a statement signed by its Secretary in Walewale, Simon Ali, debunked the claims as “totally false” and “bordering on hallucinations.”
The statement also described as “one of the weirdest claims ever” the allegations claiming that Dr. Bawumia gave the two Electoral Officers GHc 10,000 to enable him get verified.
According to the NPP, “This is hallucination of the highest order. Why would anyone pay to get verified when verification is free and takes absolutely no time?”
Bawumia verified outside exhibition center – EC
Meanwhile the Electoral Commission in a statement issued today [Tuesday], and signed by it’s Deputy Chairperson in charge of Operations, Amadu Sulley, has confirmed that Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia was “verified outside an exhibition centre.”
The Commission however did not say Dr. Bawumia was verified at his home as alleged. The Commission did not also confirm the claim that the its two officers were offered a bribe.
The electoral management body arrived at that conclusion when it released its investigative report regarding the sacking of two of its officials in July for reportedly verifying Dr. Bawumia at his Walewale residence during the just ended verification exercise.
A three-member committee was set up by the Northern Regional Directorate of the Commission to investigate the incident.
According to the statement headlined: “Verification of Dr. M. Bawumia outside Designated Exhibition Centre” the investigative committee concluded the conduct of the two breaches the electoral rules.
The Commission therefore “wishes to advice political leaders to familiarize themselves with the electoral laws and regulations to enable them to insist on the right things being done at all times”.
It further urged members of the public to continue to support the electoral process by promptly bringing any irregularities to its attention for speedy resolution.