EC drops bombshell on biometric platform

EC drops bombshell on biometric platform
EC Chair, Jean Mensa

Details emerging from the Electoral Commission (EC) indicate that the election management body was paying a whopping $4 million annually to a vendor for the servicing of biometric verification equipment.

The Chairperson of the EC, Jean Mensa, who made the revelation, said the annual financial obligation was met irrespective of whether there was an election or not, a retainership of sort.

This, according to the commission, was not a feasible arrangement considering the quantum of money that literally went down the drain for no work done.

As to the vendor being angry by the cessation of the contract, she said “it’s Ghanaians who should be peeved about how much they were losing under the unwise decision to part with so much money for no work done.”

Cost Benefit Analysis

According to Mrs. Mensa, a cost benefit analysis of the arrangement informed the EC’s decision to change the status quo and consider an arrangement, which goes for $600,000 for similar services with extras for same period.

“Why should we pay $4 million as though we are acquiring new equipment? It just doesn’t make sense,” she said.

She also said that a cost benefit analysis of the biometric voter management system has shown that building an entirely new system for the 2020 general elections is far cheaper than the cost of servicing the old biometric machines that were used for the 2016 elections.

The Canadian consultant the EC has been engaging since 2011 made an assessment of the equipment and the financial obligation thereof and found it unsustainable and advised against its continuation.

Antiquated Equipment

The EC boss explained that the biometric verification equipment under review was acquired in 2011.

In her estimation, the consultant somewhat consider the biometric equipment to be antiquated, given the advancement made since the period of their acquisition.

“Technology has evolved,” she said, adding that even with the said equipment in place during the last elections, high incidence of manual verification took place at voting centres across the country. The financial implication should be considered.”

The consultant, who advised against maintaining the verification devices under review, is the one responsible for the 2011 architecture of the EC, she added.

“Our decision has saved the EC $20 million,” she disclosed.

She revealed that the ownership of the critical software of the election management body is an affront to the country’s sovereignty.

“The vendor proprietorship of the software is not right,” she stressed, explaining that “even the password for the system is not known to the IT staff of the EC.”

The EC, according to Jean Mensa, wants to avail itself of the opportunity of knowledge transfer, which under the previous vendor, did not take place.

“This among others informed our decision to abrogate our previous arrangement,” she said.

Fair green

The EC, contrary to what is being touted in some circles, has not entered into an arrangement with any vendor yet. A request has been put out though.

Two vendors, Fairgreen and Beerhand, are on the table but the former has experience and skills in such matters whereas the latter lacks both.

“We have written to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) as required by law. No deal has been reached yet,” Mrs Mensa said.

Sole-Sourcing

“Sole-sourcing is the preferred option because we want to avail ourselves of the knowledge transfer component which comes with this arrangement and the current situation in which we find ourselves would not permit us to go for competitive tendering,” she said.

“STL was supposed to have transferred knowledge but it did not,” she mentioned.

“We do not have any vendor yet. A pre-qualification announcement tender is about to go out.

“The EC would soon embark on recruitment of person with requisite skills,” she announced.

No To Lock-In System

Ms Mensa said the new EC is opposed to the lock-in system in the previous order and would reach out to stakeholders so the management of elections would be enhanced and transparent.

Security At EC

“Following threats of the past fortnight something was done to change the status quo of security management at the EC,” she said to a question about what some persons consider to be inappropriate security checks at the EC’s headquarters.

“The new security arrangement followed advice from a security expert and against the backdrop of recent threats from some quarters. The security level has been raised accordingly. It’s not noticeable when one is within the compound of the EC,” she said.

“We have been in office for the past eight months and it was only a fortnight ago that we stepped up our security. Even as we speak, when you come to our headquarters you would not find any heavily armed security agent loitering at the place,” she added.

credit: dailyguidenetwork.com

Publish on Apt

Do you have any Social, informational, educational or entertaining stuff that should be featured on www.aptnewsghana.com?

Please submit your stories, pictures, and videos to us via WhatsApp: +233548388489 or click on the icon on your screen. Alternatively, email us: aptnewsghana@gmail.com

RSS APO Group – Africa-Newsroom: latest news releases related to Africa

  • Big Improvement of International Airport in Malawi by Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) September 20, 2019
    Download logoOpening 3 new airport terminal buildings and installing the radar surveillance system have improved the Kamuzu International Airport’s (KIA) capacity both quantitatively and qualitatively. The buildings and the radar system were constructed by Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA). In recent years, the original facilities of the airport built by Japan’s ODA in 1982 had […]
  • UN Human Rights Council 42: Statement for the Universal Periodic Review on Ethiopia September 20, 2019
    Download logoThe UK welcomed acceptance of our recommendations on human trafficking, truth and reconciliation, and commitment for impartial investigations into violations and abuses, whilst noting concern at continued internal displacement. The United Kingdom welcomes Ethiopia’s continued engagement with the UPR. We welcome Ethopia’s acceptance of all three of the UK’s recommendations, including enhanced efforts at […]
  • Successful Digital Women Entrepreneurs at UN Assembly September 20, 2019
    Download logoFive successful women entrepreneurs who have broken new digital ground and created wealth and employment in various developing countries will be unveiled on the margins of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York next week. They will join world leaders as they review the progress made in the implementation of […]
  • As drought compounds security woes, Somalis flee to Ethiopia (By Katie Nguyen) September 20, 2019
    Download logoWhen drought killed most of Barwako Noor Abdi’s cows and goats eight years ago, she had no choice but to abandon her home in Somalia’s parched Gedo region and seek help elsewhere in a country suffering from decades of insecurity. When the next major drought hit in 2016/17, she found she could not even […]
  • Africa and Europe share Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) experiences September 20, 2019
    Download logoDisaster risk managers from Africa have been participating in a five-day study tour in Europe this week organised by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and CIMA Research Foundation, a non-profit research organization founded by the Italian Civil Protection Department. Participants come from the disaster management agencies of Angola, Ethiopia, United […]
  • Levente Magyar holds talks on Hungary-related business issues in Egypt September 20, 2019
    Download logoIn a statement to Hungarian news agency MTI following the meeting on Thursday, the State Secretary said the parties had discussed two deals that are being supervised by the Hungarian state, one of which concerns the joint shipment of 1300 railroad cars to Egypt with Russia at a value of one billion euros. “The […]
  • New ambassadors from Ireland, Namibia and Malaysia September 20, 2019
    Three new ambassadors to Norway presented their letters of credence to His Majesty King Harald V on 19 September 2019. The ambassadors are: Ambassador of Ireland, H.E. Mr Keith McBean Ambassador of the Republic of Namibia, H.E. Mr George Mbanga Liswaniso (resident in Stockholm) Ambassador of Malaysia, H.E. Mrs Nur Ashikin Binti Mohd Taib (resident […]
  • ​Libya: humanitarian operation brings to Italy four Libyan paediatric patients September 20, 2019
    Download logoFollowing an initiative promoted by Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Emanuela Del Re, and as a result of the cooperation  between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Minister of Defence, a humanitarian operation was accomplished today with the arrival in Italy of a first group of four […]
  • New International Organization for Migration (IOM) Data Collection Reveals Latest Migratory Trends in Mauritania September 20, 2019
    Download logoThe International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Mauritania presented a research study this week (17/09) revealing Mauritania, a country of 3.9 million people in West Africa, as both a transit country on the Western Mediterranean Route, and a destination for West African migrants seeking job opportunities in the country’s growing fishery and construction sectors. […]
  • The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Deplores Death of Migrant, Killed Thursday upon Disembarkation in Tripoli September 20, 2019
    Download logoA Sudanese migrant died from a bullet wound Thursday, hours after being returned to shore by the Libyan Coast Guard. The International Organization for Migration (IOM), whose staff witnessed the tragedy, strongly condemns the migrant's death. The tragedy occurred at Abusitta Disembarkation point in Tripoli as many of the 103 migrants returned to shore […]
About Editor 543 Articles
Joe Bright Nyarko Journalist/Communication Researcher. Environment & Sustainability Advocate. Managing Editor of aptnewsghana.com, a non-profit news portal with bias towards environment and sustainability issues, rural development policies and gender & inequality.