Providing Graphical Evidence to Counter the Electoral Commission’s Dangerous Untruths About Biometric Verification Systems.
Date: Tuesday, March 10th 2020
Venue: The International Press Centre,
There has been heightened interest in the worrying conduct of Ghana’s electoral management body, the Electoral Commission (EC). Supposedly clothed with an insurmountable constitutional power to evade critical scrutiny from its stakeholders, the EC opened itself up for many civil society organisations and individual civic actors to appraise its conduct the more, especially for their very wild financial claims of saving the country millions of dollars by procuring what has now emerged to be the most expensive, unverified and unnecessary biometric systems since Ghana adopted the technology.
A powerpoint presentation will respond to the EC’s which was presented to the public and demonstrate among others that;
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 has 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.
i. At any rate, the timeframe for negotiating a proper contract; designing better specifications to correct the many things the EC claims are wrong with the existing system; securing procurement approvals; integrating disparate software and hardware systems from different vendors; and deploying and testing the platform cannot be fitted within the EC’s artificial timeline of April 18th 2020 for the commencement of registration.
j. The proposed mediation process by Gamey & Co Alternate Dispute Resolution Center is wise and must be considered by all parties.