General News of Saturday, 14 March 2015
Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan has expressed his remorse to Parliament over the botched district level elections.
The Electoral Commission blew Ghc317 million in preparation for the District Assembly elections. The elections planned for March 3, 2015 were however declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Dr. Afari Gyan also told Parliament the Commission needs extra Ghc90 million to organise fresh elections.
Mr. George Loh, a member of the Public Accounts Committee, told Joy FM’s Ghana Connect on Friday that Dr. Afari Gyan met Parliament’s Committee in its usual closed door meeting where he expressed regret for the no show which inconvenienced many.
“He was not very happy that things have gone the way they have gone…generally let’s say that he showed remorse and that he indicated that it wasn’t an intentional thing that happened. They were doing the regular thing that they have been doing but I think someway, somehow they got it wrong this time,” George Loh said.
Isaac Amponsah, one of the victims of the EC’s failure to fully comply with the constitution who was on the show said he was “really affected” by the court’s decision.
“It was a big blow for us the candidates,” he said, noting that he spent about Ghc30,000 campaigning.
He and other panelists wondered why the EC would go ahead to organise the elections when it [EC] knew that would be illegal. They also faulted Parliament for not reigning in the EC when it was breaching the law.
However, the EC cannot be held responsible for illegally expending the Ghc317 million; that is the position of Mr. Loh.
“I don’t see Afari Gyan going round dishing out money to people,” George Loh, who is also a member of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee said.
“The reality on the ground now is that I don’t see what anybody can do to the electoral commission… Let’s assume you go and sue the Electoral Commission for damages, are you going to sell the assets of the Electoral Commission to defray your cost?
“The individuals in there are virtually insulated from these things. You cannot go after them…”
Nonetheless, any individual who thinks he can hold the EC responsible for what happened can go and test the law, he submitted; saying “the way is open to anybody who is minded to sue the EC”.
A panel member Nana Kwesi Awuah “totally disagreed” with the submission of George Loh, however.
“That would make nonsense of one of the cornerstones of our constitution which has to do with accountability…no value is being placed on accountability…and over three hundred million going down the drain is very unfair… to the entire Ghanaian populace, especially taxpayers.”
Reading copiously from Article 187 of the Constitution, he concluded that there is a “window for us to hold the EC accountable to this”.
Other panel members were youth activist Douglas Quartey from the Youth Bridge Foundation, and an Assemblywoman seeking re-election, Victoria Esinam.
Ghana Connect also took a bite out of the controversial ¢51 million judgement debt awarded to businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome and Thursday’s High Court ruling setting him free on two counts of defrauding by false pretence and causing financial loss to the state.