EC sued over refusal to release Procurement information

Ernest Norgbey, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region, has sued the Electoral Commission (EC) over its refusal to provide him with information relating to the procurement of a new biometric management system.

Among other issues, the MP wants to know the processes the commission adopted prior to contracting the services of Dr. K. Ofori-Adjei, Information Technology (IT) Consultant and A. Akrofi, Procurement Consultant and whether the said procurements were done in accordance with Part 6 of the Public Procurement Act.

Mr Norgbey has criticised EC’s attempt to procure a new voter management system which the consultants recommended and the contract for the new system has reportedly been awarded to a firm, Thales DIS.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff is seeking a declaration that the “refusal, failure or neglect of EC to furnish the applicant with information on matters specified” is a violation of his rights to information, refusal of EC to grant his request is “a violation, a continuing violation and a threatened violation” of his right to information.

Mr Norgbey had based his requests to EC in accordance with the Right to Information Law however, EC denied the request stating that the fees and charges applicable for the said information was yet to be determined in accordance with the law.

The EC in rejecting the request said, “an applicant seeking to access information under the Act, Right to Information shall pay the fee or charge approved by Parliament in accordance with the Fees and Charges (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2009 (Act 793).”

In a rebuttal, Mr Norgbey, indicated that his right to information following request can’t be put on hold because of  “failure or neglect of parliament to specify fees payable upon request to access information under Right to Information Act 2019 (Act 989).

“I will not be held back by failure or neglect of the government to operationalise or put in place institutional mechanisms for the citizenry access to information under Right to Information Act 2019 (Act 989) and a copy of award letter from EC to Thales DIS in respect of contract for acquisition of hardware component of new voter management system.

“I also want copies of procurement contract between EC and Thales DIS for acquisition of hardware component, entire record of procurement proceedings and procurement processes,” Mr Norgbey posited.

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