The founding president of IMANI Africa Mr. Franklin Cudjoe in a statement has indicated that, there is the need to probe into the activities of the Electoral Commission of Ghana regarding the new voter management system among others. The renowned think tank believes that, according to audit reports from the office of the Auditor-General Mr. Daniel Yaw Domelevo over the years, there are serious issues with the integrity of the Electoral Commission’s assets management hence the need to audit them.
Adding his voice to discussions on voter register, Mr. Franklin Cudjoe noted that, part of IMANI’s concerns has been revisited to clarify issues to the general public.
IMANI Africa said “Concerns about the integrity of the electoral process, and particularly the security of voting mechanisms, have necessitated considerable investments running into tens of millions of dollars for the rollout of technological infrastructure.”
“At the core of this infrastructure is a set of technology tools which has collectively come to be known as the Biometric Voters Management System (BVMS), comprising, in the main, of biometric voter registration machines (BVRs), biometric verification devices (BVDs), automatic biometric identification software (ABIS), very small aperture terminals (VSATs), Voter Management System software and hardware (VMS) and datacentre equipment.”
Mr. Franklin Cudjoe stated that “In the last decade and half alone, Ghana has incurred expenditure in excess of $200 million on this platform, its precursors and ancillary systems. An amount well beyond what we have spent on similarly critical aspects of national life, such as storm drainages, public health research and climate change mitigation.”
Comparing the expenditure of the Electoral Commission of Ghana over the years, Mr. Franklin Cudjoe outlined that, “Indeed, spending on the electoral process was US$138 million in 2008, and $267 million in 2012. Four years later, an almost identical figure of $269 million was spent on the election. Between 2012 and 2016 major procurements were made for the purposes of acquiring specialized tools to verify the identity of voters, as well as handle and manage the data of the ever-growing number of voters.”
On public audit report by the Auditor-General Mr. Domelevo, the think tank advocate said the “Recent audits by the Auditor-General in the period between 2015 and 2018 have flagged serious problems with the integrity of the EC’s asset management and the quality of its asset registers, systems seriously critical to safeguarding and conserving this country’s meagre financial resources whilst ensuring the sound discharge of the EC’s mandate.”
“In the midst of these lingering concerns about the quality of the EC’s asset management practices, the EC has stoked controversy with an announcement that it intends to discard the entirety of its current biometric voter management system, and has indeed begun awarding contracts to procure a brand new system (BVMS) at a potential cost in excess of $80 million.” The report explained.
Mr. Franklin Cudjoe also disclosed that, they are of the carefully researched view that such expenditure warrants an urgent audit of past expenditures to ensure that these cost escalations are not driven by maladministration of assets, negligence, or much worse, malfeasance.
In concluding statement, IMANI Africa said the “Electoral Commission (EC) insists that new gadgets, many procured within the last 4 years, according to audits conducted by the Auditor-General and Ministry of Finance records, have suddenly become obsolete, despite the limited use to which such devices have been intermittently applied over the period”