EC Exposed in secret contracts For New Voters’ Register

  • Even though, the Electoral Commission (EC) is going ahead with the controversial plans for a new voters register and biometric system, facts are emerging that it illegally contracted the system to Persol System Ghana Limited.

On Joy News’ Newsfile programme on Saturday January 18, 2020, Bright Simmons, an Executive member of governance thinktank IMAN revealed that the EC had already concluded plans for the new system almost a year ago without consultation nor public advertisement for competitive bids as required by law.

The EC last week announced that it had awarded the contract for the construction of the new Production and Disaster Recovery Data centre to Persol Systems Limited, and had also given telecommunication giant, MTN the contract to provide network or internet connectivity services to the various district offices of the Commission, information trickling in shows that these processes were not done according to legal guidelines.

According to Mr. Simmons, the EC had pretended to conduct stakeholder consultations but had already finished a tender 8 months ago and was just about to award the contract when the controversy broke.

Also, it is emerging that the EC never publicised the Expression of Interest and Request for Proposals inviting data technicians and vendors on its website or in the media. The EC also never revealed any details about the bidders or the evaluation results months after the process had been concluded.

More damning revelations from Mr. Simmons shows that even though the EC has insisted that the entire Biometric Voter Management System (BVMS) and voters’ register are old and useless, the EC recently spent US$ 7.2 to upgrade biometric verification machines (BVRs) and had bought fresh BVRs since 2016. About 72,000 BVRs were freshly bought and upgraded recently.

It is a mystery why the EC did not include newly proposed facial recognition function to the freshly bought and upgraded BVRs.

The EC recently secured about GHC 400 million from the Ghanaian Parliament to upgrade the biometric register system, even though it had just recently bought and upgraded the existing machines.

Recently, a committee called the Eminent Advisory Committee (EAC) was inaugurated to evaluate the stance of the EC for a new biometric voter system, however, it appears this committee will be a mere Paper Tiger because the EC had already concluded all arrangement to start rolling out the new systems.

The committee recently advised the EC to meet with members of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) to properly discuss the new register, but the potential effect of such a discussion is not clear as the EC had already closed the chapter.


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