Bani’s STL ‘slip’ pardonable – Asiedu Nketia
The comment by the Minister of the Interior, Prosper Bani, that Superlock Technology Limited (STL) was contracted by Ghana’s Electoral Commission to transmit tallied poll results in the 2012 elections was a “slip”, General Secretary of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) Johnson Asiedu Nketia has said.
According to him, Mr Bani’s “mistake” may have been influenced by several comments made in the media by the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) since 2012 that the Israeli firm was purposely chosen by the EC to transmit poll results and fidget with numbers in favour of the NDC.
In an interview with Ekow Mensah-Shalders on Class91.3fm’s Executive Breakfast Show on Wednesday April 13, Mr Asiedu Nketia said Mr Bani’s slip was pardonable. “Everybody is capable of making a slip. …That is not his regular day-to-day activity. If you make a mistake and it is corrected, you take it…pilots make mistakes and crash planes,” he added.
The NPP on Tuesday April 12 wondered why the EC was not levelling with Ghanaians about the details of its contractual agreement and relationship with STL, as far as the conduct of the country’s elections were concerned.
Director of elections of the NPP Mr Martin Adjei Mensah Korsah told Prince Minkah on Class News’ 505 programme that: “With the current controversy and suspicion on the role of STL at the EC, it’s important that as stakeholders, we know, at first hand, what the exact contractual relationship [is]; we need to be made known of this. We have demanded of this several times at IPAC [Interparty Advisory Committee meetings]”.
“Why is anybody refusing to tell us these simple facts? Why should agreements between the EC and STL be shrouded in secrecy? In whose interest does it serve?” he asked.
The NPP’s fresh push for answers concerning STL’s relationship with the EC and its role concerning elections, came shortly after the electoral body denied that the firm ever transmitted election results on behalf of the EC in the 2012 elections contrary to claims to that effect by the NPP.
A Deputy Chair in charge of Finance and Administration of the commission, Georgina Opoku Amankwah, told Class News’ Paa Kwesi Parker-Wilson in an interview on Tuesday that: “Transmssion of results was never the work of the STL and Dr [Kwadwo] Afari Gyan, former chairman of the commission, had always been emphatic on this fact and the commission had never come out to say that what Dr Afari Gyan put out there was not true, so, … that is why the commission has not spoken because we have given our position and it had been made clear all this time round that the STL never transmitted results of the commission of the elections,” she insisted.
According to her, the EC “would come out appropriately at the appropriate time and everybody will know what the electoral commission is doing”.
The new debate about the role of STL in Ghana’s elections started a couple of weeks ago after Mr Bani said in a statement that some three South Africans, who were arrested and detained by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) for false declaration and illegal training of some 15 NPP members as security detail for the party’s flagbearer and running mate, had in their possession documents that profiled employees of STL – a company he stated was contracted by the EC to transmit election results in 2012.
Mr Bani’s statement contrasted former EC Chair Dr Afari Gyan’s denial – during the 2012 elections – that STL had anything to do with transmission of tallied results on behalf of the EC. The contrasting statement by the Minister prompted a press conference by the New Patriotic Party at which they accused the EC of using STL to “manipulate” election results in the last general polls.
However, Mrs Opoku Mankwah told Class News: “All that the STL is doing for, or does for EC is that they helped us in buying the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) [equipment] and then the BVDs [Biometric Verification Devices]. So, as I speak, they are the people who are working on these things. The BVRs that they helped us procure, it is they who service it, it is they who programme it for us to do the registration and then, on the day of poll, the BVDs, the verification devices, it is they who also will work on them. There’s nothing like they transmitting results of elections and all I know is that they service those equipment for us and then prepare them …for registration… You know the BVRs come with certain components: cameras, scanners, and those things – they fix all those things for us,” she explained.