Claims made by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission to back her controversial insistence on compiling a new voters’ register for the 2020 election have been undercut by manufacturers and distributors who supplied Ghana its current set up.
Mrs. Jean Mensah’s claims that the existing biometric system is obsolete, and will require more money to upgrade, compared to the purchase of a new one are now looking like a choreography of lies, after the real experts with knowledge in the field spoke up.
HSB Identification BV of Holland, the manufacturers of the current BVR equipment and GenKey Africa, suppliers of the current BVDs, have said that the inexpert opinions of Mrs. Jean Mensah about the current system are balderdash.
The expert conclusion that these two companies, with sought after expertise in this field reach is that the current system can be safely, and inexpensively upgraded, contrary to the claims by Mrs. Jean Mensah.
This consensus by these two companies which already have a track record with Ghana in the manufacture and supply of biometric equipments were communicated to the members of the Inter-Party Resistance Against the New Voters Register, after the Resistance had written to the companies for verification from the horse’ own mouth.
This afternoon, the Resistance made their findings known at a press conference addressed by the General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia.
“On the 1st of January 2020, we sent an email to HSB Identification BV of Holland, the manufacturers of the current BVR equipment, seeking answers on whether or not the BVR equipment they supplied Ghana are obsolete; and whether or not the current BVRs can be upgraded to include facial recognition. In a response to this email dated 2nd January 2020, Mr. Marcel Boogaard of HSB Identification B.V. indicated as follows; 1. The current BVRs are not obsolete. 2. Although the notebooks (computer operating system and software) of the current BVRs needs to be upgraded, components like the fingerprint scanners were very robust and fit for use. 3. The enrollment software could easily be upgraded with facial recognition, a feature which has been incorporated in their new software release. 4. The cost of upgrading the current BVR equipment with new functionalities will be far cheaper than replacing them with new equipment. 5. HSB Identifications BV is willing to assist the EC carry out these upgrades upon request.
“Also, on 26th February 2020, we sent another email to GenKey Africa, suppliers of the current BVDs to find out whether or not the 72,000 BVD equipment they supplied to Ghana’s Electoral Commission are obsolete; and whether or not they can be upgraded; and at what cost if Yes. In a response to our Enquiry, the Managing Director/Projects Director of GenKey Africa, Mr. Harold Hermans indicated as follows; 1. Contrary to the claims by the EC, the 72,000 BVDs they supplied Ghana are not obsolete. 2. The BVDs the EC used for the 2019 District Level Elections worked perfectly. 3. The BVDs are upgradeable and that, they have presented a proposal to the EC for the upgrade of same at a cost far cheaper than the cost of replacing the current equipment with new ones,” Mr. Asiedu Nketia said.
Consequently, he points out that the expert opinion that has been given by the two companies which are responsible for Ghana’s current biometric system exposes Mrs. Jean Mensah as an impersonating, self-opinionated expert in biometrics.
Mr. Asiedu Nketia points out that Mrs. Jean Mensah had all along been lying to Ghanaians when she claimed that, “the current BVRs and BVDs are obsolete and “have reached levels where they can no longer be repaired”, hence must be discarded.
“That, It is cheaper to procure an entirely new BVMS and compile a new voters register, than to update, maintain and/or upgrade the current system. And that, procuring a new BVMS will save the nation some $18 million.
“That, integration of an additional authentication layer of facial recognition is impossible on the current BVMS system due to its architecture.
“That, the current Biometric Voter Management System has a vendor-lock-in and that, the EC does not have the source code of the current system.”
He warns the EC chairperson that the counter position of the experts firmly incriminates the EC Chairperson of causing financial loss to the State and that a future government will not spare her.
He points out that on the day of reckoning, Mrs. Jean Mensah will have no excuse because up to 40 Civil Society Organizations have pointed out to her that her attempt to compile a new register will needlessly assault cost on the public purse.
Mr. Asiedu Nketia also dared the EC publish the report that the EC said had been made by its consultants supporting the need for a new register, indicating the Inter-Party Resistance Against the New Voters’ Register doubts that any such report exists.