EC Chairperson renders account to Parliament

By Julius Yao Petetsi

By Julius Yao Petetsi

The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs Charlotte Osei, has rendered account to Parliament on how much her outfit collected from journalists for accreditation to cover the 2016 polls and how same was utilised.

Accompanied by two other commissioners, Amadu Sulley, a Deputy Chairman and Hajia Sa-Adatu Meida, a commission member, Mrs Osei also told Parliament’s Committee of the Whole how much the EC made from replacing lost or misplaced voter identification (ID) cards and how the monies were expended.

The invitation of the EC boss was at the behest of Subin MP, Eugene Boakye Antwi.

The EC in the run up to the 2016 elections charged media representatives GH¢10 for accreditation and GH¢5 for replacement of lost or misplaced ID cards.

Giving a breakdown of what has been collected for accreditation for journalists in Parliament yesterday; Mrs Osei said the commission in total realised GH¢42,710 from issuing accreditation cards.

Mrs Osei explained that the GH¢42,713.60 was used for the printing, saying that this accounted for 4,271 journalists and 273 individuals of other stakeholder interest groups, including observers, political party representatives who were given accreditation cards for free as part of people who monitored results at the national coalition centre.

She explained that of the GH¢10 charged, GH¢8 was meant for the printing and lamination of the accreditation cards and the remaining GH¢2 taking care of other expenditures including VAT, NHIS.

On how much the commission collected for replacing lost or misplaced voter ID cards, Mrs Osei said as of July 24, 2017, her outfit had collected GH¢2,590, 080 from 518,000 people who replaced their cards.

She said the money was lodged in the EC’s account at the Ghana Commercial Bank, and added that it (the money) had not been expended, explaining that the commission needed the authorisation of the Ministry of Finance to do so.

The funds, she said “are safe” and has not been transferred to the consolidated funds.

Answering questions on why the commission gave the printer a tax holiday, the EC boss said the GH¢8 was agreed in view of the tax holiday to ensure that the commission took care of those statutory payments.

Probed further why the media had to pay to cover an election, Mrs Osei said it wasn’t the first time journalists were made to pay for coverage, emphasising that the money was for the accreditation material and not for coverage.

Identifying journalist on duty, she said, was crucial for the security of journalists and gives them automatic access to polling stations and to get credible information on the polls.

She pledged of the Commission’s commitment to running a fair and transparent administration to the benefit of the country’s democracy, and indicated their readiness to return to the House to clear all grey areas, if the House still had some reservations.

The session, however, was not without the usual disagreements between the Majority and Minority caucuses over the viability of some questions posed to the EC boss and the correctness of her answers.

By Julius Yao Petetsi


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