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NPP: In whose interest does STL – EC secrecy serve?

Ghana’s biggest opposition New Patriotic Party has wondered why the Electoral Commission is not leveling with Ghanaians about the details of its contractual agreement and relationship with Israeli firm Superlock Technology Limited (STL), as far as the conduct of the country’s elections are concerned.

Director of elections of the NPP, Mr Martin Adjei Mensah Korsah told Prince Minkah stated on Tuesday April 12 that: “With the current controversy and suspicion on the role of STL at the EC, it’s important that as stakeholders, we know, at first hand, what the exact contractual relationship [is], we need to be made known of this. We have demanded of this several times at IPAC [Interparty Advisory Committee meetings]”.

“Why is anybody refusing to tell us these simple facts? Why should agreements between EC and STL be shrouded in secrecy? In whose interest does it serve?” he asked.

The NPP’s fresh push for answers concerning STL relationship with the EC and its role concerning elections came shortly after the electoral body denied that the firm ever transmitted election results on behalf of the EC in the 2012 elections contrary to claims to that effect by the NPP.

A Deputy Chair in charge of Finance and Administration of the commission, Georgina Opoku Amankwah told XYZ News’ that: “Transmitting of results was never the work of the STL and Dr [Kwadwo] Afari Gyan, former chairman of the commission, had always been emphatic on this fact and the commission had never come out to say that what Dr Afari Gyan put out there was not true, so, … that is why the commission has not spoken because we have given our position and it had been made clear all this time round that the STL never transmitted results of the commission of the elections,” she insisted.

According to her, the EC “would come out appropriately at the appropriate time and everybody will know what the electoral commission is doing.”

A whole new controversy about the role of STL in Ghana’s elections stirred up a couple of weeks ago after the Minister of the Interior, Prosper Bani, said in a statement that some three South Africans who were arrested and detained by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) for false declaration and illegal training of some 15 NPP members as security detail for the party’s flagbearer and running mate, had in their possession documents that profiled employees of STL – a company he stated was contracted by the EC to transmit election results in 2012.

Mr Bani’s statement contrasted former EC Chair Dr Afari Gyan’s denial – during the 2012 elections – that STL had anything to do with transmission of tallied results on behalf of the EC. The contrasting statement by the Minister prompted a press conference by the New Patriotic Party at which they accused the EC of using STL to “manipulate” election results in the last general polls.

However, Mrs Opoku Mankwah stated; “All that the STL is doing for, or does for EC is that they helped us in buying the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) [equipment] and then the BVDs [Biometric Verification Devices]. So, as I speak, they are the people who are working on these things, the BVRs that they helped us procure, it is they who service it, it is they who programme it for us to do the registration and then on the day of poll, the BVDs, the verification devices, it is they who also will work on them, there’s nothing like they transmitting results of elections and all I know is that they service those equipment for us and then prepare them …for registration… . You know the BVRs come with certain components: cameras, scanners and those things, they fix all those things for us,” she explained.

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