A report of the Special Budget Committee of Parliament has revealed how the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) Charlotte Osei, requested for more money for the commission, although the general elections have been concluded.
She was demanding approval for the balance of GH¢223,000,751 from GH¢1,093,000,751 which was required for the 2016 general elections.
However, an audit report indicated that initial money allocated for the commission was more than enough.
The former Finance Minister Seth Terkper had released GH¢870,000,000 out of GH¢1,093,000,751, but the breakdown of the expenses of the commission put before the Special Budget Committee showed that it spent GH¢800,000,000 for the entire election.
In the Hansard of March 30, 2017 – specifically, columns 4815 to 4818 – the committee reveals how the EC boss demanded GH¢223,000,751 as outstanding payments for the 2016 elections – when the audited arrears are far less.
However, sources say the audit revealed that even though the GH¢223 million owed to contractors, vendors, suppliers and election officials was paid between November and December 2016 by the commission, the amount was still submitted to the Ministry of Finance and parliament in February and March this year as outstanding liabilities.
“Our audit further revealed that even though the GHc223m owed to contractors, vendors, suppliers and election officials were paid between November and December 2016, the amount was still submitted to the Ministry of Finance and parliament in February and March 2017 respectively as outstanding liabilities. Details of the payments made with their corresponding dates are provided…,” the report indicated.
According to the report, the committee was able to meet the commissioners on three occasions to interrogate the budget of the commission, saying, “Remarkably, the collaboration among the committee, the commission and the Ministry of Finance resulted in the downward revision of the requested amount on all three occasions that the meetings were held.”
According to the report, the committee, after the three meetings, were requested to probe the EC figures further but no further work was done.
“The committee is of the view that the commission must not allow the integrity of the figures they submit to be assailed rampantly,” the report stressed.
Details of the payments made with their corresponding dates provided showed that between May and December last year, the commission paid a total of GH¢96,502,379.83 and $42,151,987.43 to various vendors ranging from services like VMS upgrade, warranty and maintenance, supply of cartridges, printers, biometric verification device (BVD) and biometric registration kits.
Between November 29 and December 16, 2016, the EC paid various printing firms like Ghana Publishing Corporation, Yasarko Press, Fonstat Limited, Innolink, Check Point and Acts Commercial Limited a total of GH¢15,160,059.65 as contracts for printing Notice of Polls.
On payment for offshore election materials between July 4 and December 15, Ditrac was paid GH¢18,056,556.30 as final payment for the supply of indelible ink, Armstrong Limited and Sani-Salley Enterprise got GH¢5,851,476.00 each for the supply of rechargeable lamps while Enus Company Limited was paid GH¢47,695,200.00 for supplying voting screens.
Nel Supplies had GH¢377,806.60 for the supply of laminates; Paul Kenny Ventures received GH¢8,821,392.00 for supplying AA Alkaline Batteries, Ditrac was given an advanced payment of GH¢1,534,420.00 for the supply of indelible ink; Aero Vote Security Printing Ghana Limited received GH¢8,501,131.51 for the supply of forms; EL and Baynet Limited was paid GH¢672,521.81 for the supply of endorsing ink – bringing the total to GH¢105,143,788.62.
On the Election Results Management System (ERMS) Brown Kasaro was paid a total of GH¢242,646.45 for customization (of ERMS) while Dunia Ramazani received GH¢82,797.13 and GH¢70,465.34 respectively for consultancy fees for ERMS.
IT Markets Limited got four different payments of GH¢88,390.10, GH¢234,305.00, GH¢188,670.00 and GH¢346,500.00 for the supply of ERMS software, network switches and cables for ERMS, hardware for ERMS and HDMI video switches.
Perfect Business Systems supplied laptops, computers, monitors, laptop bags and monitors at the cost of GH¢1,094,500.00, GH¢2,704,500.00 and GH¢308,717.95 and the various mobile phone networks – Airtel, Vodafone, MTN and Tigo – GH¢2,534,877.54, GH¢1,104,245.61 GH¢202,282.64 and GH¢2,749,996.74 were paid for the provision of virtual private network at a grand total of GH¢11,952,894.50.
The commission transferred a total of GH¢858,270.00 as the fourth quarter administrative expenses to the regions and a total of GH¢51,807,650.00 as election allowance to the regions with 25% election allowance – hitting GH¢4,447,847.56.
The Special Budget Committee Report concluded that the committee generally made observation to the effect that “There are deep-seated mistrust among members of the commission, especially between the chairperson and the deputy commissioners. This undoubtedly negatively impacts on the operations of the commission.”
The committee recommended, “The chairperson and members of the commission should deal with one another in a much more open and transparent manner in order to eradicate the existing mistrust and also win the confidence of one another for harmonious working relations and in the supreme interest of the country.”
By William Yaw Owusu