The IMANI Center for Policy and Education has lodged a formal petition with the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), urging an investigation into the Electoral Commission’s (EC) actions regarding the retirement and disposal of election-related equipment.

In addition, the center has suggested the potential referral of the matter to the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) for a specialized corruption risk assessment tailored to the unique operations of the EC.

The move comes in response to the EC’s recent disposal and auctioning of equipment it deemed obsolete.

Executive Director at IMANI, Franklin Cudjoe, in a statement on Monday, May 6, expressed deep concern over the EC’s management of the country’s limited resources in fulfilling its duties.

Mr. Cudjoe said they perceive such actions as constituting “misappropriation,” “wastage,” and “misuse” of valuable resources, particularly troubling given the nation’s financial constraints and IMF-supervised fiscal regime.

The petition stressed the belief that, the EC’s decisions regarding the premature retirement and subsequent disposal of tens of thousands of laptops, digital cameras, printers, scanners, and fingerprint verifiers have been influenced by a conflict between its obligation to prudently allocate national resources for the benefit of citizens and its tendency to favour various commercial vendors and transactions.

“Furthermore, we stated our belief that the EC’s most recent conduct has been necessitated by a need to curtail transparency and accountability, and thus was motivated by a collective conflict of interest and potential corruption. By its actions, it is attempting to erase inventory records and physical evidence of the blatant falsehoods it has told over the last four years regarding the purchase history of expensive electoral equipment.”

“We asserted our longstanding claim that the EC’s electoral equipment is a portfolio of multiple items, bought and refurbished at different intervals between 2011 and 2019. That portfolio does not uniformly date to 2011 or 2012 as the EC has falsely and persistently claimed, and could thus not be so uniformly obsolete as to warrant a firesale to mysterious bidders, who have kept the prime portions for themselves and discarded the rest to be used as scrap. Ghana cannot continue to be milked in this fashion,” he further stated.

Franklin Cudjoe added that some of the devices cost more than $3000 each, and together are worth tens of millions of dollars.

“At worst, they should have been donated to other government agencies that routinely buy similar machines at great cost to the state or transparently sold through a properly regulated public tender under the strict rules of the Public Procurement Act to ensure strict value for money,” he added.

Mr Cudjoe opined that the equipment in question contained sensitive voter information, including polling records and biometric data, that could be reassembled for nefarious purposes by devious actors to harm citizens and/or undermine Ghana’s public elections in some shape or fashion.

“We do not believe that the EC and its commercial counterparties in these transactions complied with the highest standards of data handling and protection required in the transfer and/or disposal of such sensitive equipment. At any rate, none of them had the requisite certifications to be trusted with such a task,” he added.


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