President Peter Mutharika’s first witness Ben Phiri in the presidential elections nullification petition case underway in the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court in Lilongwe has confirmed that there were irregularities during the May 21 elections.
Phiri, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development who is also governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) director of elections, was giving his evidence in the witness stand facing cross examination from Dr Chikosa Silugwe, lawyer for the first petitioner UTM Party president Dr Saulos Chilima.
The minister said that problems ranged from poor lighting in polling centers to polling officers failing to understand some terminologies in the elections.
He also said that some results were rejected by auditors but Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) told all parties to let the results be approved so long as they contained signatures of presiding officers.
Questioned further, Phiri confirmed before the panel of five judges that tippex, duplicates were used and that results were altered.
He also confirmed that throughout his sworn statement, he never indicated that original tally sheet were used during the elections but insisted that original tally sheets were printed in Dubai.
“Pay attention to my question, which is relating to use of original tally sheets for results collection not ballot papers. Do you have any paragraph in your sworn statement that shows that original tally sheets were used in this election?” asked Silugwe.
“No with an explaination,” answered Phiri.
Before Phiri testified, former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu, a member of Mutharika’s legal team, laid the case and said the petitioners failed to prove in court that presidential results were manipulated; hence, asked the court to throw away the petition.
But Silungwe argues that their case was premised on two pillars; irregularities and fraud.
He said they were convinced that they have proved that correction fluid Tippex was used, fake documents and duplicates were used and presiding officers, in some instances, did not sign result sheets and log books, which was contrary to the law.
Silugwe has finished cross examining Phiri and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) lawyer Mordecai Msisha is expected to take over.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :