Amazon employee contradicts INEC, refutes claim IReV suffered ‘technical glitch’ during presidential election

Amazon employee contradicts INEC, refutes claim IReV suffered ‘technical glitch’ during presidential election

A staff of Amazon Web Services, AWS, Clarita Mpeh Ogah, was cross-examined by lawyers representing the Independent National Electoral Commis

Press freedom, civic space shrinking in Nigeria under Tinubu – Group
Dapo Abiodun couldn’t have become Ogun governor without me, says Tinubu
Tinubu not capable to lead, violating constitution for failing to convene FEC meeting – Atiku
A staff of Amazon Web Services, AWS, Clarita Mpeh Ogah, was cross-examined by lawyers representing the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, President Bola Tinubu and All Progressives Congress regarding her statement on oath wherein she maintained that INEC’s Result Viewing Portal (IReV) did not suffer technical glitch during the February 25 presidential election.

She was fielded by the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, who now has 3 days left to prove his case despite INEC’s assertion that most documents requested by the petitioner cannot be made available within the time frame.

The electoral umpire stated this before the Presidential Election Petition Court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday.

The LP and Obi had on Monday presented Ogah before the panel to prove that electronic transmission of the February 25 presidential election results was not prevented by “technical glitches” as claimed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

During cross examination by INEC counsel, A.B Mahmoud SAN, she maintained that technical glitches appear during the testing stage, not post deployment stage, that is, when an application has been deployed on Amazon Cloud.

The AWS was engaged by INEC for the purpose of securing votes displayed on the INEC Results Viewing Portal, IRev.

She explained that when applications are hosted on AWS, if there are glitches on AWS, it will impact the BVAS application device.

“It is highly unusual for technical glitches to occur on primary functions of application in production,” the witness said.

Interrogating the Amazon AWS employee, INEC’s lawyer noted that she was “a candidate of the Labour party during the just concluded House of Representatives election”.

She responded in the affirmative. She also admitted that she was not appearing before the court on the authority of her company, Amazon, but came as an expert.

Under further cross-examination APC and Tinubu’s counsel, Wole Olanipekun, asked her who authored her employment verification.

She said the author is the Employee Resource Centre, a department that handles employment verification and that AWS does not issue identity cards to its staff.

She admitted she has attended the PEPC a few times during tendering of documents by the Labour party.

Ogah denied using her Twitter handle, @clarita_ogah, to report what has been happening at the Presidential Tribunal.

She said the reports she tendered as Obi’s evidence were downloaded from AWS and they can be publicly verified.

Asked if she was happy to have lost the House of Representatives election House, Clarita said she was indifferent.

She, however, admitted suing INEC for not uploading her name on its website over network failure.

“Are you aware that the AWS services experienced an outage of several hours on Tuesday, 28 February, 2017?,” Olanipekun asked her, to which she responded in the affirmative.

She told the court that she was not aware that the Labour party won the Presidential Election in 12 states and the FCT but admitted being aware that Joe Biden was the President of the United States.

APC counsel, Lateef Fagbemi SAN, put it to the witness that she did not examine the applications used by INEC for the election.

Responding, Ogah said she conducted preliminary investigation of the IREV portal application.

“According to my report, there were no glitches on AWS during the February 25 presidential election,” she said.

Asked if she saw the terms and agreement between AWS and INEC, she responded in the negative but noted that Amazon AWS has general agreement with all its customers and she sent a link of that agreement in her witness statement.

The witness made it clear that she was not representing Amazon in the case but was in court as an expert witness.

“Can the technical glitches that happened with AWS in Japan happen again?,” Lateef asked, to which she said, “Anything is possible.”

Meanwhile, after her cross-examination, Obi’s lead counsel, Livy Uzoukwu SAN, told the court that an INEC official was at the proceedings to produce documents following a subpoena issued against INEC Chairman, Yakubu Mahmood, dated May 30 and June 13.

He added that INEC refused service from the bailiff of the court but eventually accepted a day ago.

Olufumilayo Tairu, INEC’s Deputy Deputy, Certification and Complaints, then came forward.

She only tendered certified true copies of INEC’s Manual for Election Officials and Electoral Guidelines.

She said the rest of the documents (the publication or press statement from INEC) requested by Obi are not in existence.

Tairu said for logistic reasons, the other electoral documents (EC25 series for the 36 states which are used to distribute materials at polling units) are in the states and more time is needed for them to arrive in Abuja.

Obi’s lead counsel, Livy Uzoukwu, asked her to tell the court when INEC is going to bring those documents knowing full well that he has until Friday to conclude his evidence.

She replied that the documents requested by Labour Party are enormous, but will be produced as soon as possible (not giving a specific date).

INEC lawyer, A.B. Mahmoud interjected, saying the petitioners are putting unnecessary pressure on the official of the electoral umpire.

But Uzoukwu said, “This is a subpoena served on INEC on May 30. They refused to accept service. This is just a deliberate effort to frustrate our case.”

But the panel asked Uzoukwu what he wants to do since INEC was yet to produced the documents he requested.

Uzoukwu maintained that INEC flouted the order of the court, and he would make “necessary applications” if the documents he sought for were not produced by Wednesday.

The panel said the petitioners should have applied for subpoena to all the INEC state resident electoral commissioners to produce the documents, not just on INEC Chairman.

But Uzoukwu said lawyers approached INEC’s state offices with applications to access the documents without success.

The panel said the petitioner’s should produce proof that they applied to RECs to get those documents.

Dr Lawrence Kayode, INEC Deputy Director, ICT, then came forward to present 2 out of the 5 documents requested by the petitioners, saying the remaining are “work in progress.”

The court had to adjourn to Wednesday at the instance of Uzoukwu.