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Presidential Tribunal: Kenyan ICT expert testifies, says INEC has server

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

ABUJA – An Information Communication Technology, ICT, expert from Kenya, Mr. David Njorga, on Friday, maintained before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, transmitted results of the February 23 presidential election, to a central server.

Atiku, INEC, tribunal
INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu and Atiku Abubakar

Njorga, who was subpoenaed to appear as a witness in the petition the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, lodged to challenge the outcome of the presidential election, said he conducted analysis and findings on result of the election as was electronically transmitted to the server.

He said results from the server was directly copied to a website he gave as www.factsdontlieng.com, which he said was created by an official of INEC that acted as a Whistle-blower.

The Kenyan who testified as the PW-58, tendered a copy of the subpoena that was issued for him to appear before the tribunal.

While INEC’s lawyer, Yunus Usman, SAN, and that of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, said they were not opposed to admissibility of the subpoena, however, President Muhammadu Buhari’s lawyer, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, challenged it.

Olanipekun said his client would give his reasons in his final written address.

The document was admitted and marked as exhibit P-91 by the Justice Mohammed Garba-led five-member panel tribunal.

Buhari vs Atiku: INEC officer took $10, 000 to change results, witness reveals(Opens in a new browser tab)

Under Cross-Examination, Njorga, who was described as an “Expert Witness”, admitted that he was not in Nigeria when the presidential election took place.

He said confirmation from a global ICT tool, WHOIS.com, revealed that the website that contained data from the sever, began to function on March 12 when the domain name was registered.

Asked if the essence of the website was to ensure that people had access to election results as they were being transmitted, the witness said: “If you look at information explicitly put on the website by the author who is an INEC official, those were data from the server.

“The INEC official is anonymous. It is a whistle-blower”.

Asked if the whistle-blower could be a robot, he said: “My lords robots do not create websites”, saying it was international best practice to shield identity of the INEC official.

The witness acknowledged that the website from which he conducted his analysis does not belong to INEC.

“It does not belong to INEC but the data it contained were from INEC’s servers. I have never worked for the INEC before”, he added.

He said he used scientific methods to trace the source of the data.

Asked if he was aware that the IP address has been used by many corporate organizations all over the world, he said it was true.

Asked why he did not attach his certificates to his statement on oath, the witness said: “My lords I am a professional. I have the certificates with me, if you like I can show it”.

Continuing, the witness told the tribunal that INEC managed four websites, saying it was not correct that none of them contained the data he analysed.

He said exhibit A5 contained extract from all the websites.

Asked if he was aware that the Presidential Result Sheet that had all the results that were announced by INEC, was opened on March 24, the witness said he was not sure.

Asked if he was aware that one Mr. Dinita created the INEC App, the witness said he does not know.

Under further cross-examination, the witness said if granted the access, he could decrypt every data in INEC’s server.

When he was handed one of the exhibits he claimed contained some printouts from the server, the witness said he was not authorised to decrypt them.

“Technically, I can, but I am not authorised to reveal this data”, saying only the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, could grant him access to decrypt data in the server.

“I will decrypt the data and it will confirm that the information on the website where from the direct source”.

Insisting that he linked the website to the server, the witness said: “I am well experienced in information/Data Sciences and I use scientific methods which any expert can confirm”.

He said it was possible for someone to use the same scientific methods he used to gain access to the server, to tamper with its contents.

He said contents of the server could be changed through the same method.

The witness however refused to disclose the name of who engaged and paid him to undertake the assignment.

“My lords I was not paid for this job, only my logistics were paid for”.

Asked if it was not important to state in his expert report before the tribunal, who engaged him and the scope of his assignment, the witness said: “That is true, but as an expert who belongs to various bodies of knowledge, the method I used was what is approved”.

More details later.

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