Information gathered by ABC News has it that the Electoral Commission (EC) has terminated contract of the Israeli firm, Superlock Technology Limited engaged in 2012 to manage the country’s elections data centre.
According to the EC, the foreign firm was given unfettered access to the data centre, which meant the firm could shut down systems arbitrarily, and was charging US$5.2 million for maintenance every year.
The commission said last year, the firm presented a budget of US$56 million to upgrade the IT systems to be able to conduct the referendum held late last year.
The Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Jean Mensa, told the president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in a meeting at the Jubilee House on Thursday, the commission decided to terminate the contract and, instead, use its internally trained I.T staff to manage all I.T related activities involved in the management of elections.
In June 2019, the Electoral Commission lamented that Ghanaian voters’ biometric data was firmly controlled by foreigners. A phenomenon the EC says casts a slur on the Commission’s independence.
The EC Chairperson, Jean Mensa was emphatic, Israeli firm Superlock Technology Limited (STL) contracted for the maintenance of the Commission’s software and Data Center equipment, had “unlimited access” and could control “everything”, “remotely”.
The biometric data, she said was housed in a “filthy” office space run over by wires and which cost the taxpayer $4m paid to foreign vendor company anytime there is a need to do some maintenance.
Mrs Mensa also revealed the commission’s decision to institutionalise its Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) and efforts aimed at ensuring that political parties complied with all relevant legal provisions. The EC chair commended President Akufo-Addo for giving the commission the necessary support and noted that the President had, since her assumption as EC Chairperson, not influenced its work in any way.
For his part, the president praised the EC for their efforts to reform the internal structures of the commission. He further intimated that he was alarmed to hear that the commission’s I.T systems were managed arbitrarily by a foreign firm which had monopoly of the data centre.
He intimated that the decision to use internal staff to manage all aspects of the electoral process had the full support and commendation of the government.
The EC, under the leadership of Charlotte Osei, awarded the biometric data contract to Super Tech Limited (STL) in 2011 to take charge of the Commission’s data and Biometric Verification Devices (BVD).
The current Chairperson of the Commission, Jane Mensa, recently decried her office’s inaccessibility to the devices’ password lamenting that the foreign firm rather has total control of the data centre.
Furthermore, the Commission’s Information Technology staff were not trained to operate the BVDs and often relied on foreign vendors to repair them at a huge cost.