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Don't tamper with biometric verification machines – NPP warns EC

The General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie has issued a warning to the Electoral Commission to clarify the status of all biometric verification machines used in the December 7/8 elections.

His call comes amid reports of District Returning Officers, including those from Akwatia and Old Tafo, alleging that they had received instructions from Accra to reset to zero, the verification machines used at the polling stations.

“We hope that this is not true, because it would amount to tampering with evidence and in clear breach of the law governing public elections, which provides that all materials and documents must be preserved for at least one year after an election,” the NPP General Secretary explained.

“The NPP is about to embark upon the most important legal case in Ghana’s history, which we are confident will nullify the illegitimate declaration by the EC on December 9 and the inauguration of a President on the basis of a fraudulent vote count and declaration.

“These biometric machines are likely to be used as evidence to show that the actual vote count in many areas, especially, NDC strongholds, far exceeds the number of biometric verifications. We have reason to suspect that the NDC and some EC officials collaborated together in a systematic, deliberate, and coordinated manner to break the law and disenfranchise voters who followed the correct procedures,” Mr Owusu-Afriyie.

He pointed out that Section 43 of the Public Elections Regulations, 2012 (CI 75) says the EC shall seal up and “retain for a year documents forwarded to the Commission; and destroy the documents after a year unless otherwise directed by a court.”

“Documents”, Sir John argued, include “electronic documents, captured on the biometric verification machines, which indicate how many voters were actually verified and okayed to vote. So to destroy them is to actively destroy evidence and to institutionalize a grand cover-up. The EC has a legal responsibility to protect such materials that parties to any suit are likely to rely on. It would only sanction any premature obliteration of information on the machines if it were guilty in this matter and wished to use criminal means to cover its tracks,” Sir John argued.

He also noted the following:

The biometric verification system is meant to improve the integrity and credibility of the elections by ensuring that only valid registered voters vote in the 2012 elections.

According to C1 75, Section 30, subsection (2), the law governing public elections in Ghana stipulates, “The voter SHALL go through a biometric verification process.”

According to C1 75, Section 34, subsection (1): “Where the proceedings at a polling station are interrupted or obstructed by (a) riot, open violence, storm, flood, or other natural catastrophe or (b) the breakdown of an equipment the presiding officer SHALL in consultation with the returning officer and subject to the approval of the Commission, adjourn the proceedings to the following day.”

According to C1 75 Section 43, subsection (3), all voting materials must be kept for one year because of the possibility of a legal challenge to the results declared by the EC.

Sir John concluded by indicating: “If indeed these orders have been given, as we hope they have not, the EC will face the wrath of the law, because the law is clear on the duration with which ballot boxes and their contents, which include the verification machines, should be kept. The NDC clearly wishes the EC will tamper with the evidence as part and parcel of their effort to turn Ghana into a corrupt party-state.

They are desperate to cover up lies and trickery with more lies and trickery to continue rigging this election for John Mahama. But the NPP believes in Ghana’s institutions and we put our faith in the court to restore the sovereign will of the Ghanaian people that has been violated by this criminal cover up perpetrated by the NDC,” he stressed.

Source: NPP Communications Directorat

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