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EC’s Biometric machines: Demand for procurement details still in force – Ernest Norgbey

The Member of Parliament for Ashaiman, Ernest Norgbey, says the Electoral Commission must provide details on the acquisition of a Biometric Voter Management System.

At a hearing of the Court of Appeal on Tuesday, the motion put forward by the Commission was dismissed by a unanimous decision.

The Ashaiman MP has been in court since February 2020, requesting information on the procurement procedure used by the Commission to hire the services of consultants for the Biometric Voter Management System.

Speaking to Citi News on the latest twist to the case, Ernest Norgbey said he will compel the Commission to furnish his office with the information if the orders of the court are not complied with.

“The reason I have applied for this document is that they did not follow the due process and public procurement act which means that there is something to hide. That is why I am requesting for that document. The next step is to compel them to produce the document. So they are under every obligation to produce those documents under this document.”

Last month, the Human Rights Division of the High Court in Accra dismissed an application for stay of execution from the Commission after the court gave judgment in favour of the Ashaiman MP in July.

The EC initially refused to honour his request for information on the matter.

Ernest Norgbey believes the EC has no option but to furnish him with the details.

“The judgment was delivered in my favour for the Electoral Commission to furnish me with the documents. But they have appealed that judgment at the high court and entered into a stay of execution which means that they do not want the documents to be realized to me and enforce the judgment.”

“We also filed an affidavit and yesterday in courts upon hearing the arguments from the counsels on the constitutions of the various processes so far, the court held that the stay of execution and suspension of the case lacked merit the court dismissed same.”

“The court was of the view that the grounds of appeal to disclose any arguable points that will warrant a stay of execution which implies that the Electoral Commission is liable to furnish me with the necessary documents as soon as possible as directed by the court. Refusal to furnish me with the documents will amount to contempt of court, and so we are waiting for them and then my lawyers will determine the next line of action,” he added.

Background

The Ashaiman lawmaker went to the Court in March 2020 for a judicial review when the Electoral Commission declined to provide him information on the Commission’s procurement of the services of IT Consultant Dr. Ofori Adjei and a Procurement Consultant, Mr. A. Akrofi on the Commission’s procurement of a new Biometric Voter Management System (BVMS).

The Commission had said it was unable to provide the information requested due to the unavailability of a fee system determined by Parliament.

Mr. Norgbey, however, said his fundamental right to information as guaranteed by the 1992 Constitution and the Right to Information Act had been violated by the Commission’s refusal to provide him with the information.

The Court, presided over by Justice Gifty Agyei Addo, was of the view that Mr. Norgbey’s right to information had indeed been violated.

She said the rights of citizens cannot be held in abeyance because of the inaction of Parliament.

She added that, the court under the circumstance had the power to prescribe a processing fee to enable Mr. Norgbey to enjoy his right to information.

 

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