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The dangerous games of the Electoral Commission - IMANI Africa's report

Tue, 25 Feb 2020 Source: imaniafrica.org

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.

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 dangerous untruths.

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.

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.

Hence the total loss to Ghana of the EC’s actions amount to $150 million, if one factor in contingency. If the fact that thousands of perfectly good equipment shall be thrown away is also considered, the total loss rises.

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.

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.

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.

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.

If the EC goes ahead and throws caution to the wind to maintain the shambolic April 18th timeline, the credibility of the new system shall suffer.

The proposed mediation process by Gamey & Co Alternate Dispute Resolution Center is wise and must be considered by all parties.

Read below IMANI's full report

Source: imaniafrica.org

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