Data Protection C’ssion: There’ll be no benefit in prosecuting EC

The Data Protection Commission will not prosecute the Electoral Commission (EC) after a report by the Auditor-General revealed that the Commission had sold voters’ data to a private company without an agreement.

This is because if entities cooperate with the Commission, it will not rely on prosecution since there is no benefit and what is of benefit to the commission, the EC should be accountable and transparent, which is of benefit than prosecution.

Mrs Patricia Adusei-Poku, the Executive Director of the Commission, said the issue would be handled outside of the court adding that “prosecution is a last resort option, it is what we usually do when the entity is failing to cooperate with the Commission.

“We’re  in talks with the EC concerning the issue while a court action may seem tenable, that is not the route the commission will take because we will use all available channels, we want to sit down and talk as first option because we know data protection is new to the nation, it takes time to understand what an accountable and transparent organisation is, if there are gaps, we will rather sit down and discuss.

“A sanction, in my view, works better under current circumstances and commission will ensure the right things are done and we may not prosecute individuals who played a role in sale of data to software development agency, Bysystem Limited, if EC complies with our directives,” Mrs Adusei-Poku indicated.

A special audit carried out by the Auditor-General on EC has revealed Commission sold voters’ data to an Accra-based software development company, Bysystem Limited, bought the data from EC and sold them to financial service providers for a fee.

The Audit on EC was part of special audits carried out by Auditor-General on selected state institutions in 2018, which the report also revealed there was no agreement between EC and Bysystem Limited on the sale of voters’ information.

“We further noted that Bysystem Limited failed to remit the 20 per cent commission due to EC, in respect of charges for accessing the data, for 2016 and 2017 financial years,” the report stated and EC, according to the report, responded to its findings and stated that there exists a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the commission and Bysystem Limited,” the reported said.

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