A Human Rights Court has ordered the Electoral Commission (EC) to furnish Ernest Henry Norgbey, Member of Parliament for Ashaiman, with information on the Commission’s procurement consultancy services.
In the decision of the Court, it directed the EC to deposit the information within 30 days at the Court’s registry.
The MP was also asked to pay an amount of GHC1,500 for the information through the Judicial Service Revenue Account.
By the order, the EC is expected to provide information on whether it indeed procured the services of two consultants and if the procurement was in tune with the Public Procurement Act.
The EC is also obliged to provide the MP with record of procurement for the services of the two consultants.
The Court presided over by Mrs. Justice Gifty Adjei Addo upheld that the fundamental rights of the MP had been violated, adding that in matters such as that, the citizen’s right could not be in abeyance as a result of inactions of Parliament.
It noted that although the MP was a Legislator, he took the matter up as a citizen of the Land.
Accordingly, the Court further held that citizens could not be denied their rights with regard to payments under the Right to Information law.
The Court was also of the view that applications of such nature could only be denied if the information was injurious to the State or in breach of the security of the State.
It, however, declined invitation by the MP to compel the EC to release information on details of the contracts with Thales DIS.
The MP had gone to court to challenge the refusal of the Electoral Commission to release information on the acquisition of the Commission’s Biometric Voter Management System (BVMS).
The MP contended that the refusal or failure of the EC to provide him with information on the BVMS, violated his human rights under Article 21 of the 1992 Constitution, which guaranteed the right to information.
The Plaintiff wanted to ascertain the processes the Commission adopted prior to contracting the services of Dr Ofori-Adjei, Information Technology Consultant and Mr. A. Akrofi, a Procurement Consultant and whether the procurement was done in accordance with Part six of the Public Procurement Act among others.
He was further praying the Court to order the EC to provide him with a copy of the award letter from the Commission to Thales DIS in relation to contract for acquisition of hardware of the New Voter Management system.
The Commission, however, stated that fees and charges applicable to the said information were yet to be determined in accordance with the law as such, it was unable to provide him with such information.
Speaking to journalists after the Court’s ruling, the MP urged citizens to activate the Right To Information Act for information they needed, adding that he was happy the Court granted his prayer.