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General News of Monday, 7 November 2016

Source: dailyguideafrica.com

EC bends rules on proxy voters - Amadu Sulley

Concerns are being raised about the possible manipulation of the proxy voters’ list by the Electoral Commission (EC).

Director of Elections of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Martin Adjei-Mensah Korsah, who has raised the alarm, questioned the continuous delay by the EC in releasing not only the proxy voters’ list but also those for special voting, absentees and transferred voters – that are with the commission – to the political parties, saying that it has bent the rules.

In an interview with DAILY GUIDE, he said several demands by the NPP for the EC to release copies of the lists of applicants in those categories seemed to have fallen on deaf ears and that the EC was not forthcoming.

He believes it is due to the fact that the EC has inflated the list.

“At IPAC I put it to them that if you go to some districts where we know that eight people applied for proxy, we are aware it has come to 32,” he averred, while wondering “how come the numbers have changed?”

Concerns

But, according to him, when he made that enquiry at the last Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting “all he” [referring to Deputy Chairman of the EC In-Charge of Operations, Amadu Sulley] “said was that some people did proxy from abroad.”

Bending Rules

When the question of how those people managed to apply to vote by proxy from abroad – because by the EC’s own regulations, the applicant must be in Ghana – was put to the commission by Martin, he said, “….Sule told us shockingly that they bent the rules for those who are abroad.”

Mr Adjei-Mensah Korsah wondered, “How can you say this? You’ve issued a public statement clarifying the processes in applying for a proxy, it has been complied nationwide. We know there are 378 proxies; from the 10 regions, now it has swelled than double and now you are telling us that you had to entertain people from abroad to bend the rule?”

Even that, he indicated that the EC is still not forthcoming in releasing the list.

“We are having difficulties accessing the list of proxy voters, transferred voters, special voters and absentee voters list from the EC for scrutiny. We have demanded this together with the register since the last IPAC meeting. We have only been given the register and not any of these lists. These lists always go with the register so you cannot present a final register without these,” he told DAILY GUIDE.

According to statistics provided by the EC, the total number of registered voters stands at 15,712,552.

But according to Martin, “You can only come to this figure after you have done your proxy list, transferred voters’ list, special voters’ list and absentees list” with a rhetorical question in tow, “How can you get this figure if those things are not ready?”

Pink Sheet Contract

Meanwhile, the Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA) has also raised concerns about the EC’s decision to award GH¢8.95 million contract for the printing of Statement of Poll and Declaration of Results forms [Pink Sheets] and other carbonized election forms to be used for the upcoming elections to a bankrupt UK firm, Messrs Aerovote.

In a statement, the pressure group expressed outrage about the fact that the contract was awarded to a company which was liquidated in 2013 and later incorporated in Ghana in December 2015.

“It is baffling that after undergoing the tender process, presumably to obtain the best value for the hard-earned money of the Ghanaian taxpayers, the EC, led by its chairperson, Madam Charlotte Osei, failed to do full due diligence before the contract was awarded,” the statement expressed.

The group could not fathom why the EC rejected the GH¢4,209,825.25 bid of Buck Press, a reputable Ghanaian firm which printed the Declaration Forms (Pink Sheets) for the 2012 elections, and rather awarded the contract at a gargantuan cost of GH¢8,950,603.92 to a company with a record of liquidation and bankruptcy and with barely 11 months of experience in Ghana.

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