It is “criminal behaviour” for the Electoral Commission of Ghana to have printed 151,000 excess ballot papers contrary to its agreement with the various political parties ahead of the 7 December 2020 polls, the Director of Elections of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Elvis Afriyie Ankrah has said.
“It's sad to say this but Jean Mensa and Bossman Asare … will destroy this country; they want to destroy our democracy; this is criminal behaviour”, Mr Afriyie Ankrah told Kofi Oppong Asamoah on Monday, 2 November 2020 on Class FM.
According to an enraged Afriyie Ankrah, “in all previous elections, before the printing of ballot papers, the Electoral Commission gives us what we call the ballot statistics; it is what gives us the number of ballots that have to be printed per region, constituency, district, polling station”.
However, he alleged, “for this election, the EC refused [to give us the ballot statistics]”.
“We asked them several times, I personally engaged them from Monday to Wednesday, we sent my director and another team member; they went to the EC several times, sometimes twice a day.
“On one hand, they said we should collect the ballot statistics from the printing houses; on another hand, they said they would give it to us.
“And this kept going on until the printing started and, as far as we are concerned, all the other parties do not have the ballot statistics; I don’t know about the NPP but all the other minority parties that we know, we spoke to them, they do not have the ballot statistics”, he said.
Continuing, he narrated: “So, what we discovered was that they had printed in excess of 150,000 ballots; in fact, it’s about 151,000 ballots, outside the five per cent extra”.
“But more seriously, at Assembly Press, they have two facilities within the same premises and we all agreed with them that the printing was going to be at one of the facilities so our agents could be present to monitor.
“[On] Saturday dawn, around 1:30 am, our agents discovered that the second location, within the same premises, where they agreed that they were not going to do printing, printing was going on and they had printed hundreds of thousands of presidential ballot papers.
“Some guys raised the alarm, so, at 2:30 am, we moved in there to go and ascertain and, indeed, it was true”, he said.
However, trhe Public Affairs Director of the EC, Mrs Sylvia Annoh, told Class News in an interview that the election management body is not doing anything illegal as claimed by the NDC.
“Depending on each scenario, for example, if you have a polling station that has about 88, you need to add five per cent but because of the numbers involved – in hundreds, fifties – you need to strategise and make sure that some may go a little above it, but it doesn’t mean because they don’t have them in specific numbers, they have them in fifties, hundreds, it becomes very to stick to the exact number but that doesn’t also mean that we are just increasing the ballot. That has been the norm since time immemorial”, she explained.