Witness Tells Osun Tribunal How He Scanned Ballot Papers To Detect Electoral Fraud

Mr. Tunde YadekaThe renowned Information Communication Technology expert, Mr. Tunde Yadeka on Thursday turned the venue of the sitting of the Osun State Governorship Election petition Retrial Tribunal in Osogbo to a lecture room on Information Technology as he explained that he gathered data on the governorship poll to detect multiple thumb-printing and ballot box stuffing.

He also told the tribunal that the storage system he adopted for the scanning of ballot papers presented by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for scanning were free of errors after following scientific principles and applications.

Led in examination-in-chief by Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), Yadeka who told the Tribunal that he is an expert in Mathematical models and programming explained that his term of reference to carry out the assignment was to gather the data on the election, analyse and save same to detect multiple thumb-printing and ballot box stuffing.

He was cross-examined by Chief Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), counsel to Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who asked him several questions.

The witness further told the Tribunal that he underwent training at National BISA System in the United Kingdom; Inter Voice, Dallas, USA; Jemplox Valet, France; and Miasis Electronic Corporation, Tanzhu in the Peoples Republic of China.

The cross-examination went on like this:

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: Who instructed you to carry out the analysis?

Yadeka: I was instructed by a team of experts, engaged by the petitioner, of which I am a member.

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: Who paid for the analysis you carried out?

Yadeka: I cannot speak for the rest of other team members because we were about 51 experts, but as for me, I raised bills and forwarded it to the team leader, which were paid.

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: Who was the team leader?

Yadeka: Mr Adrian Forty, unfortunately deceased.

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: Will I be correct to say that the money paid to you through the team leader was paid by the petitioner.

Yadeka: I will not use the word correct, but I will assume so.

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: Were you told that you will give evidence before the tribunal when you were engaged by the petitioner?

Yadeka: I was informed that part of the terms of my engagement was to the fact that I will testify before this court.

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: What were the terms of your engagement?

Yadeka: The terms of my engagement were to the fact that as a Software Expert, I would have to gather data on the election material used for the governorship election of the April 14, 2007; and analyse the saved data that had been gathered to discover like multiple thumbprinting and ballot stuffing.

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: The petitioner must have believed in your competence before you were engaged?

Yadeka: Yes, the petitioner did mention that I was referred to.

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: What degree do you have?

Yadeka: I have first degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Ife, now refers to as Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU).

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: You did not graduate as an ICT expert?

Yadeka: I did not graduate as an ICT expert, but I did some courses in other department that exposed me to information technology.

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: Did you undergo any training to make you an ICT expert or having any certificate to that effect, bearing in mind that you graduated as a Chemical Engineer?

Yadeka: Yes, I undergone several training, which makes me qualify as an ICT expert. I underwent training at National Bisa System, United Kingdom; Inter Voice, Dallas, USA; Jemplox Valet, France; and Miasis Electronic Corporation, Tanzhu, China.

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: In all the places you have undergone your training, you took several courses?

Yadeka: Yes, I took several courses.

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: The courses you took did not include analysis of election materials like ballot papers, form EC8A and the rest of them?

Yadeka: No, analysis of election materials was not inclusive, because those documents are not valid in those countries.

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: At paragraph 21 of your deposition, you refer to ten local governments as regarding irregularities and inconsistence in the election materials. Now, how many local governments do we have in Osun? If you know tell the court and if you don’t know, say you don’t know.

Yadeka: I think there are 30 local governments?

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: But you were directed to do the inspection in just ten local governments?

Yadeka: The legal team of the petitioners requested the reports of findings in only ten local governments.

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: What was the procedure you adopted in the INEC office during the course of your analysis?

Yadeka: The procedure I followed was that I would arrive the INEC office at about 9am, set up the scanner to be used in the INEC warehouse, call in parties including men of SSS, Nigerian police, representatives of the petitioners and the respondents, representatives of INEC and the Electoral Officer or the Assistant Electoral Officer of the local government to be treated.

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: The master copy of the documents you scanned were submitted to Adrian Forty, am I right?

Yadeka: Yes, the master copies were submitted to Adrian Forty who carried out the fingerprint investigation on them.

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: After submitting it to Forty, that was the end of your involvement and you did not participate further?

Yadeka: That is not correct. I took part throughout the investigation, but I did not carry out the investigation all alone.

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: Can you remember how many ballot papers you scanned?

Yadeka: I cannot remember the specific number, but I scanned well over 200,000 ballot papers.

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: Do you know the exact number of register voters in Osun State?

Yadeka: I did not know that.

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: Will you be surprise if I tell you that there are over N1 million register voters in Osun?

Yadeka: I will not be surprise, because I will assume that the counsel would give actual number?

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: Will you be surprise to hear that Paul Jobbins was before this court and said that 50% of the scanned ballot papers were bad?

Yadeka: I know Paul Jobbins very well and he would not have said that, but I won’t be surprise if he had said that certain percentage of the scanned ballot papers were blurred and smudged and those that were blurred were due to the physical condition of the ballot papers made available to us by INEC, which they give us from their custody.

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: In anything human, do you know that there bound to be error?

Yadeka: In anything human, there bound to be error, but in this situation with the use of the storage system, we ensure that there was no error. When the EO or AEO brings out the ballot paper for ward 5 unit 3 for example, he would announce to the hearing of everybody and we will created a folder for it on the scanner. We will now check it again to ensure that the folder was active before we now begin to scan. The process is similar to that of double-checking procedure used by accountants to ensure that there was error free.

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: After scanning, it is possible to interfere with scanned images?

Yadeka: You cannot interfere with scanned images without destroying the images, but you can by superimposing the scanned images, thereby fooling non-expert. It is important to say that booklet of ballot papers were packed in hundreds, similar to that of Corporate Cheque Book.

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: Do you know that cheque books can be issued in 25, 50, 75 and even 200 depending on the request of customers?

Yadeka: There is no Corporate Cheque issued in less or more than hundreds. I developed Software on that Corporate Cheque and currently being used by most of the banks in Nigeria today.

Oyinlola’s Lawyer: Forget about Corporate Cheques. Cheques are issue in 25, 50 and 75?

Yadeka: Yes, cheques can be issue in that regard, but here, I am referring to Corporate Cheques and it is being issued in hundreds.

The witness also declared that certain percentage of ballot papers presented by INEC for scanning were blurred and smudged arising from the condition in which the electoral materials were presented by INEC.

Giving evidence for more than two hours before the Tribunal on Thursday, Yadeka was not discharged as Chief Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), counsel to Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola passed the microphone to his colleague, Chief Nathaniel Oke (SAN) to continue the cross-examination.

This development prompted Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) to stand up and address the court that the procedure adopted by Pinheiro was unheard of in judicial proceedings.

Osinbajo protested that there were seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria on Oyinlola’s legal team who, if allowed to take turns at cross-examining the witness would succeed in harassing him.

The former Attorney-General of Lagos State decried the method adopted by Pinheiro to pass on the cross-examination to Oke who was appearing with him on behalf of the same respondent saying “I have not seen a situation like that before. That means six of seven Counsels of the same respondent can continue to cross-examine the witness”.

Replying, Pinheiro stated that Osinbajo did not cite any rule of evidence that he breached by passing the microphone to Oke claiming that he was tired and wanted his colleague to continue the cross-examination.

Osinbajo told the Tribunal that if Phinero was tired, the witness could be asked to return to the Tribunal at a later date.

The Petition was then adjourned till Monday for further hearing.

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