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General News of Thursday, 27 February 2020


EC’s over $108k website not functional

Former EC chair, Charlotte Osei and current chair, Jean Mensa Former EC chair, Charlotte Osei and current chair, Jean Mensa

The official website for the Electoral Commission of Ghana (EC) which was found to have cost the state some $108,510, has not been functional for a long while now.

Procurement issues, relating to the redesigning and maintenance of the website were found by the Chief Justice’s committee which heard the petition for the removal of former EC Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, were some of the reasons for her removal from office.

The CJ’s committee found that two contracts totaling $108, 510 dollars: $32,510 for re-designing and $76,000 for maintenance, were unilaterally awarded to DreamOval Ltd by Charlotte Osei in breach of procurement laws.

“As a result, an initial contract for the sum of US$32,510.00 was awarded to Dreamoval Ltd. to re-design a website for the Electoral Commission…”

Accordingly, the Chairperson executed another contract with DreamOval Ltd to enable USAID pay the extra bill of US$76,000.00…

From the evidence, Mrs. Charlotte Osei failed to adhere to the procurement procedure sanctioned by the Public Procurement Act and the Electoral Commission’s own internal procurement structures “, portions of the committee’s findings read.

Some observers say the website went down soon after Jean Mensa’s leadership took over the affairs of the EC following her appointment as the new chairperson.

EC chair Jean Mensa with some of her Commissioners during their swearing in Our independent monitoring of the website, for at least, the last two months, confirms the inaccessibility of the website. A simple search of the url shows the inscription:

The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later.”

This feedback, Head of Development, Tech & Innovation of MG Digital, Kwame Owusu Ansah explains is an indication that the website has used up all its allocated resources.

“It means that the amount of resources that was allocated to the website or the host of the website have been exceeded “, he said.

Producers and other media practitioners are worried about the development considering that the EC’s website is one of the major information outlet of the institution. More so, this being an election year, a working EC site will be very resourceful to the media and the public alike.

Ebenezer Agyekum Boateng is a producer and reporter with the Media General Group and like any other information user recounts how helpful the EC’s website was when it was functional.

“What I did was to compare years of elections from some constituencies so it was information that really helped me to do the story… the information on the EC’s website was better [than other institutions]”, he said.

Reporter & Producer with the Media General Group, Ebenezer Agyekum Boateng Head of Morning Shows at Media General, Cyril Dogbe is worried that an election nears yet the EC does not have working website.

“It is worrying because we have less than eight months to an election and you basically would need this website to validate some of the information you probably will get in terms of data”, he said.

The Electoral Commission is yet to officially comment on the matter but our checks from DreamOval Ltd show the contracts awarded them by Charlotte Osei have been terminated.