Incumbent Julius Maada Bio was declared the winner of the Sierra Leone presidential election, but the count was contested by the opposition.
Official numbers give Mr. Pugh 56% of the vote. His main rival, Samura Kamara, was ranked far behind with 41%.
After announcing the first batch of results on Monday, Dr Camara called the finding “a daytime robbery.”
International election observers have highlighted problems with transparency in the counting process.
The elections took place on Saturday amid tensions, but President Bio called on Sierra Leoneans to “keep the peace”.
The 59-year-old former soldier is scheduled to be sworn in for his second and final five-year term soon.
The retired brigadier general took part in a military coup during the country’s civil war in 1992, only to topple the military junta itself in 1996 and pave the way for free elections that year.
Scenes of celebration were reported in the capital, Freetown, where Mr Bio’s supporters raised his flag and marched through the city’s damp streets.
His rivalry with Dr Camara, 72, was a repeat of the closely contested 2018 election, which went to a second round.
This time, Dr Kamara, who was a candidate for the All People’s Congress (APC), alleged that his electoral agents were not allowed to check the vote count.
In the run-up to the vote, the APC lodged complaints with the Electoral Commission. However, the committee insisted it had mechanisms in place to ensure a fair vote.
The presidential, parliamentary and local elections came at the end of a campaign marred by several violent incidents.
Last week, the APC claimed that one of its supporters was shot dead by police, which the police denied.
The party said one of its supporters was killed when security forces tried to disperse the crowd at its headquarters in Freetown on Sunday.
Members of Mr. Bio’s party, the Sierra Leone People’s Party, said they were attacked by their opponents during the election campaign.
The campaign took place against the backdrop of a troubled economy, rising living costs and concerns about national unity.
Mr. Pugh, who blamed the country’s problems on external factors such as the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine, now has the task of solving them.
This election is the fifth since Sierra Leone’s 11-year civil war officially ended in 2002. It was a particularly brutal conflict, with 50,000 people killed and thousands estimated to have had their arms and limbs amputated.
But since then, the country has had a tradition of largely peaceful, free and credible elections, according to Marcela Samba-Sisaye, president of the non-governmental National Election Monitoring Organization.