EC’s actions on new register, biometric system to cost Ghana US$150 million – IMANI

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Wed, 11 Mar 2020 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Policy think-tank IMANI Africa has established that the Electoral Commission’s (EC’s) decision to compile a new voter register and biometric system will amount to a total loss of about US$150 million if some factors around the procurements are considered.

According to the Vice President of IMANI, Bright Simons, the EC’s claim that it will cost just about US$56 million to procure a new system as compared to US$74 million to maintain the existing one is a consistent lie.

He argues, that to procure an entirely new system would rather be too expensive and might reduce the quality of elections due to limited time.

“Remember the EC’s claim that it will cost just about US$56 million to procure a new system whilst the cost of refreshing and maintaining the existing one would cost US$75 million are all lies. Turns out it would cost US$15 million to refresh the 30 percent of the existing system that needs refreshing and that it will cost us US$72 million to replace just the hardware plus more for software. Add this to the cost of fresh mass registration, and the total of loss to Ghana of the EC’s actions amount to US$150 million, if one factors in contingency,” he said in an interview with GhanaWeb.

He added that the economic cost is not the only thing to be worried about because EC has also bungled the procurement process for both hardware and software, which has left a trail of evidence suggesting rigging.

“The EC’s tender processes for hardware procurement were so bad that the Chairman of the Technical Evaluation panel disassociated himself from the results forcing the EC to discard a 4-month process and compress it into a one-week evaluation. They [EC] then used one day to select a company named; THALES which has been blacklisted by the World Bank for corruption to procure the hardware” he identified.

EC in 2019 launched a tender bidding process for software which saw world-class companies like Zetes and Idemia joining seven other countries to compete. But per IMANI Africa’s findings, the tender was abruptly cancelled without any substantial reason when they did not like the outcome.

“Our information is that EC intends to sole-source the software contract. The idea that such a sensitive and elaborate software system can be written in one month, integrated into the hardware, tested and deployed for registration to begin in April 2020 is complete fantasy,” Mr. Simons concluded.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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