The Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the 2020 General and Regional Elections heard on Thursday that polling agents found major discrepancies with 17 out of 21 Statements of Poll for District Four upon comparing them with spreadsheets compiled and presented by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
Taking the stand on Thursday to make this revelation was Chartered Accountant Sasenarine Singh. Singh testified that on March 7, 2020, at the Command Center in the Ashmins building, the verification process began with the use of spreadsheets. According to Singh, the figures listed on the spreadsheet were inconsistent with the Statements of Poll from party agents.
He noted that the verification process using the spreadsheet was introduced after issues arose with the previous data that was stored on a flash drive and tabulated via a laptop. Singh said while no one was in agreement with this new feature, agents gave it a chance. But according to Singh, it only made matters worse.
“The first 21 SOPs that I had in my posession from the East Bank, 17 of them were materially different from the numbers being called by the GECOM spreadsheet,” Singh said. He told the commission, “Strangely enough, everyone was a casualty except the APNU/AFC. Of course the party with the biggest casualties was the PPPC. So what was happening was that they were deflating everybody’s numbers.”
Singh further claimed that the deflation and inflation of numbers on the spreadsheet was brought to the attention of the then Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield, whom he said assured agents that an investigation would be launched if there were discrepancies found on the spreadsheet.
“By the 21st SOP, there was a loud protest in the room and he came back… The GECOM personnel in front continued to call the numbers. What he did was he called for three of the 21 SOPs to be investigated on the prior occasion. It was to compare the SOPs GECOM had to that of what the representatives had,” Singh testified.
He further claimed that a closer look by the CEO revealed that the three SOPs taken from GECOM did not match that of the spreadsheet. There were also more discrepancies on the spreadsheet according to Singh. He alleged that no corrections were made.
“The process stopped after SOP 21. It stopped… The three SOPs he called to the front, everybody saw it, it reconciled with the one I had. The only thing that was wrong was the spreadsheet; it was very wrong,” Singh noted. He recounted that Lowenfield did not get the chance to further investigate the matter, especially since counsels from the various political parties intervened in the matter.