The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Jean Mensa, has said the Commission has abrogated a $56 million contract signed by her predecessor to manage the ICT setup of the Commission.
She said the EC was paying $4 million yearly to the company to keep the commission’s data.
Speaking at a meeting with President Nana Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House on Thursday, the EC Chairperson said the EC is now using its own ICT staff to manage data.
“I will like to turn our attention to some of the work we have done in the area of our IT. It was the weakest link of our operations and we came in to discover a 55-member department who could not run an election for two people. They had no clue as to how to conduct an election and since 2011, 2012 how vendors have controlled the IT department solely. They have had unlimited access to the department. Indeed when we came into office, the first week we had a proposal for $56 million and the idea was that we needed to expend that money to conduct a referendum for 2018.
“We were of the view that we were just coming, let us take our time and access what is going on. We were paying 4 million dollars a year and another 1.2 million dollars for internet and the data centre is not operational unless you have an election and what was worrying was the fact that the IT director said he did not know how to conduct an election for two people. The database collection was in the hand of the foreign entity and so immediately we looked at the contracts and we realised that we could terminate the contract so we took steps to terminate the four million dollar maintenance agreement. Thankfully, we have been successful at that. Today, we are managing our own systems.”
‘We reformed EC’
Jean Mensa also said the Commission under her leadership went through some strategic reforms thus improving the entity’s operations.
She described the Commission as one that lacked a structured governance framework in its operations; saying she inherited an outfit in a weak state.
“We inherited a very weak institution. It is an institution that is not founded on rules, administrative policy. It does not have a governance framework and so we came to office and found out that we do not have a single policy to guide procurement, HR, administration.”
“Nothing exists so, in a nutshell, the Commission has existed as some sort of an election machine and over the years we have spent a lot of effort trying to plug the loopholes to the best of our knowledge and to the best of our ability so it runs as a free for all institution till date.”
President Akufo-Addo on June 28, 2018, removed the then Chairperson of the Commission, Charlotte Osei and her two deputies – Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwa from office upon the recommendation of a committee set up by the Chief Justice, to investigate separate complaints brought by some Ghanaian citizens.
Charlotte Osei was accused of various procurement breaches, whilst the deputies were also found guilty of same offences as well as financial malfeasance.
Although government spokespersons had justified the move, some members of the opposition had challenged it, saying Madam Charlotte Osei, who was appointed by then-President John Mahama, was only hounded out to enable the NPP rig the election in 2020.