The Founding President and Chief Executive Officer of IMANI Centre for Policy and Education Mr. Franklin Cudjoe has responded to the Owner/Publisher of the New Statesman Newspaper Mr. Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko on IMANI’s white paper regarding the proposed budget of the Electoral Commission of Ghana to procure new Biometric Verification Registration (BVR) kits at the cost of $150m for the compilation of a new voter’s register for the December 2020 polls.
The Owner/Publisher of the New Statesman Newspaper in a Facebook post dated 1st October, 2020, has questioned Franklin Cudjoe where he got his $150m which he keeps repeating on all platforms as cost of the Electoral Commission’s Biometric Verification Registration (BVR) kits. According to him, the actual cost is apparently not even half of IMANI’s $150m, hence must cross-check and inform the public properly.
But according to IMANI Africa’s boss Franklin Cudjoe, his brother and good intellectual buddy, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko asks how it is he came by the $150m figure the Jean Mensa led Electoral Commission had planned to spend on a new BIOMETRIC SYSTEMS.
Clarifying the allegation and claims regarding IMANI’s paper on EC’s $150M, Franklin Cudjoe noted that, he needed to correct false reportage put out by Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, his learned friend.
Speaking further, he said, the $150m is not only being spent on the Biometric Verification Registration (BVR) kits alone. He therefore dissociated IMANI Centre for Policy and Education from Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko’s claims and went ahead to provide detailed information on how they arrived at the $150m estimate based on the EC’s own claims.
Defending IMANI’s paper, Mr. Franklin Cudjoe has put out eight (8) strong points to further reiterate and support its paper on the Electoral Commission’s proposed $150m on BVR kits.
Read below, his full highlighted points.
a. 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.
b. The EC’s claims that it will cost just $56 million to procure a new system whilst the cost of refreshing and maintaining the existing one would cost $74 million are untruths.
c. 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.
d. 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.
e. 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.
f. 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 had opened the process to litigation and delay.
g. The EC 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.
h. 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. The company on whose behalf the tender was being manipulated is the only one whose score tally doesn’t add up. The EC insists that you must accept that 85 + 13 = 104 instead of 98.