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General News of Monday, 24 February 2020


EC peddled 'dangerous lies': voter roll decision will cost $150m loss – Imani

EC Chairperson Jean Adukwei Mensa EC Chairperson Jean Adukwei Mensa

Think tank Imani Africa has accused the Electoral Commission of persistently peddling falsehood to justify its decision to compile a new register of voters.

The EC had said in previous statements that without a new register and a new biometric system, the 7 December 2020 elections could be compromised.

It, therefore, intends using GHS390 million for the registration exercise.

However, a statement issued by Imani Africa on Monday, 24 February 2020, said: “The EC has blatantly and consistently lied about the true facts of the current biometric system and its ongoing effort to procure a new one”.

Imani said the EC’s claims that it will “cost just $56 million to procure a new system while the cost of refreshing and maintaining the existing one would cost $74 million are dangerous untruths”.

Imani revealed that: “A sham tender recently completed by the EC has revealed that the EC plans to spend $72 million on hardware alone. IMANI believes that by the time software and services are added the total costs for technology alone will amount to $85 million”.

“Compared to a limited registration to capture just those not on the voters’ register, a fresh mass registration shall cost $50 million. Refreshing the existing technology at competitive prices will cost just about $15 million.

“Hence, the total loss to Ghana of the EC’s actions amount to $150 million, if one factors in contingency. If the fact that thousands of perfectly good equipment shall be thrown away is also considered, the total loss rises”, the think tank asserted, adding: “But economic cost is not the only thing to be worried about. The EC also bungled the procurement process, leaving a trail of evidence suggesting tender-rigging. This has opened the process to litigation and delay”.

The EC, Imani said, “Used one day to disqualify well-qualified bidders, claiming that they had reputational problems, when the vendor it awarded the tender to, after the one day of evaluation, Thales (and its Gemalto unit) has even bigger scandals hanging over its head. In fact, it was once globally blacklisted by the World Bank”, claiming: “The EC’s tender processes were so bad that the Chairman of the technical evaluation panel dissociated himself from the results forcing the EC to discard a 4-month process and compress it into a one-week evaluation”.

“At any rate, the timeframe for negotiating a proper contract; designing better specifications to correct the many things the EC claims are wrong with the existing system; securing procurement approvals; integrating disparate software and hardware systems from different vendors; and deploying and testing the platform cannot be fitted within the EC’s artificial timeline of April 18th 2020 for the commencement of registration. If the EC goes ahead and throws caution to the wind to maintain the shambolic April 18th timeline, the credibility of the new system shall suffer. The proposed mediation process by Gamey & Co Alternate Dispute Resolution Centre is wise and must be considered by all parties”, Imani said.