The Electoral Commission has rejected a request by Ashaiman MP, Henry Norgbey for information on the procurement of services from some two consultants.

The Commission, in its reply, said, despite its willingness to provide the information requested, it is unable to release same momentarily.

This is “because the fees and charges applicable are yet to be determined in accordance with law.”

Which fess? Parliament passed the Right to Information (RTI) Bill into law in 2019 after two decades of back and forth but operationalisation of the law was deferred to 2020.

Although the time is here, other requirements for the law to be made operational have not been met. An Information Commissioner, for instance, has not been appointed.

Quoting one of these requirements, lawyers for the EC said, “An applicant seeking access to information under this Act shall pay the fees or charge approved by Parliament in accordance with the fees and charges (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2009 (Act 793).”

How did the Parliamentarian respond?

Mr Norgbey described the electoral management body’s response as bogus.

Speaking to Accra-based Citi FM, he said, “it just shows clearly that the EC wants to hide behind some technicalities and perpetuate the illegality.”

“We are still going to write to them and draw their attention to section 28 of the Public Procurement Act that allows any citizen to go to any entity to request for any information,” he said.

He added that from there, head to court to compel the EC to release the information.

EC’s IT consultants

The EC is being lambasted by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for employing the services of IT consultants that would do its bidding in their quest to compile a new voter’s register.

The NDC also alleges the IT consultants are concerned about their business interest which is why they have advised the EC to procure a new voter management solution.

The Ashaiman MP wanted the EC to confirm or deny if it procured the services of one “Dr Ofori Adjei, an IT Consultant and Mr A. Akrofi, a Procurement Consultant.”

“In case your answer to the above question is in the affirmative, my client would want you to con him the procurement of the services or the said consultants was done in accordance with PART VI — METHODS AND PROCEDURES TO PROCURE CONSULTANTS – OF THE PUBLIC PROCUREMENT ACT, 2003 (ACT 663) (AS AN/ENDED).