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General News of Thursday, 23 June 2016

Source: Class FM

EC registration data destroyed – CODEO

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Some of the registration data requested by the Supreme Court from the Electoral Commission does not exist because they have been destroyed, Mr Albert Kofi Arhin of local election observer Coalition of Domestic Election Observations (CODEO) has told Class News.

“…From the grapevine, some of us know that some of these data is actually not in existence. OK, so, if it’s not there, what really happens? I will not be able to answer that question,” Mr Arhin, who formerly worked with the EC, told Emefa Apawu on the 505 news programme on Thursday, June 23.

“…From the grapevine, I know, or I’ve been told, that some of the data have been destroyed and that could have even explained why the EC was dragging its feet for so long,” in obeying the Supreme Court’s May 5 directive to clean the register of the names of people who registered with their national health insurance cards, as well as minors and the dead, Mr Arhin emphasised.

Mr Arhin’s revelation is in connection with the court’s directive to the EC on Thursday June 23 to compile a list of all voters, who were registered onto the voter roll by using their health insurance card, which the same court had earlier ruled was not a document that could be used as proof of one’s citizenship.

The court gave the EC up to June 29 to comply with the order and submit the list to the panel of justices for scrutiny. It follows a return to the apex court by plaintiff Abu Ramadan to seek clarity on the court’s May 5 ruling in an earlier case he had filed at the same court over the credibility of the 2012 register of voters.

Mr Arhin said the latest development rendered preparations for the 2016 polls a “tall order”, a situation he said, “might disrupt the timetable”.

“I’m saying this because if they are to submit the list to the Supreme Court, it is then that they will be asked to go and delete, after deletion, they will have to re-register and after re-registration, there has to be an exhibition. And you see, this will all be adding to the already tight programme, and the fear we even have is that: ‘Are we even sure the data that they are looking for is there? Does the commission really have the data?” he asked.

“…You know there is this thing about the commission that after one year, when you conduct elections, and there’s no dispute, there’s no problem, you dispose of all the materials in the ballot boxes to create room for other orders, so that when there is another election, you can have a convenient space to pack your things. Are we sure that the data that the Supreme Court is looking for is actually there? Because (1) it is not in the database, this was not captured into the database, it was not scanned, the information that they are supposed to be looking for has not be scanned and, therefore, it is not already in existence, it means they will have to go into the ballot boxes to remove these things one by one and be writing all the names across the country. So, if they had heeded to this request long ago, I’m not sure we would have arrived at this murky situation we are in at the moment.”

Asked by Emefa Apawu if he thought the elections would come off as planned in the light of the latest development, Mr Arhin said: “I really am doubtful, I am very doubtful and let’s pray that it works out well, but it looks murky because they are going to write the data – every district, every constituency will have to be up and doing and look out for this data if it is there already, if it is not there, that’s another matter, so all I will say is that it is murky.”

Mr Arhin also said the EC has not conducted itself well in handling the various concerns expressed by the court and some stakeholders as far as the upcoming polls are concerned. “No, you and I know that from the verdict that has come out, I mean it is clear that the EC has not behaved the way it should have behaved, so you don’t need to ask anybody; it is there, clearly written for everybody to see.”

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