Trouble Brew At EC …Over Procurement Of PINK SHEETS

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Dr. Bossman Asare

The Electoral Commission (EC) has been caught in a huge controversy in the process to procure the all-important “Pink Sheets” for the December 2020 elections.
There are arm-twisting and covert attempts to cheat the company that has legitimately won the over $17million contract to print the pink sheets for the upcoming elections.

At the centre of the controversy is the Deputy Chairman of the EC in charge of Corporate Services, Dr. Bossman Eric Asare, and a blood relative of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

The two are scheming to force Aerovote, the company that has legitimately been selected to print the pink sheets, to cede part of the contract to another company that does not have the requisite printing machines to print the pink sheets.

The refusal of Aerovote to agree to the dirty scheming is preventing the EC from signing the $17 million contract.

Mr. Asare and the President’s relative want their preferred company to have a sublet of over $3million out of the overall contract, something that is creating confusion within the corridors of the EC.

There are murmurings within the corridors of the EC that Buck Press is the company on the minds of Mr. Asare and the Nana Akufo-Addo relative, something The Inquisitor could not independently verify.

History Of Pink Sheet Procurement

Ghana and other African countries, including Kenya, Sierra Leone and Tanzania, were printing their pink sheets in the United Kingdom.

It was the printing machines of the United Kingdom company, now defunct, that Aerovote procured and assembled at Nungua in Accra to enable it to undertake the printing of the pink sheets.

In 2016, the EC inspected the machines of Aerovote and other companies, including all the lead printing entities, and was satisfied that the company was in a better stead to print the pink sheets for various elections in the country.

It is instructive to know that apart from Aerovote no other company, including the Buck Press that EC persons are murmuring about, had what it takes to print pink sheets for Ghana’s EC.

It was based on the capabilities of Aerovote that the EC entered into a sole-source agreement for the procurement of pink sheets.

It was pink sheets produced by the Aerovote that was used in the District Level Elections held recently in Ghana.

After Jean Mensa Took Over EC

After Mrs. Jean Mensa took over the EC, following the politically-motivated sacking of Mrs. Charlotte Osei, there was a high profile meeting at Koforidua in the Eastern Region, where there was an attempt to rope top procurement officers of the EC into the scheming to snatch part of Aerovote to other printers who do not have machines to print Pink Sheets.

The Inquisitor is reliably informed that at the meeting it was made clear to the new EC chairpersons that the deal with Aerovote was legitimate and that the attempt to snatch part of it was illegal.

Besides that, the EC persons were told that, apart from Aerovote, no printing company has the right machines and capabilities to produce pink sheets and they must be allowed to deliver.

Instead of the matter dying after that Koforidua meeting, Dr. Asare was pulling all strings to enable his favourite company to be part of the whole pink sheet procurement, although he was fully aware that no company has what it takes to do what Aerovote has been engaged to do.

Current Situation   

The Inquisitor, as at the time of going to press yesterday, learnt that the EC had not been able to finalize issues with Aerovote to enable the company to start printing the pink sheets for the December 7, 2020 elections.

The finalization of documentation for printing was to have been done last Monday, but because of the attempts to twist the arm of Aerovote, it did not happen.

It is not clear when the deal will be finalized for printing to start because of the ongoing scheming of the darling company of Dr. Bossman Asare and President Akufo-Addo’s relative.

About Pink Sheets In Ghana’s Election

The form on which the Statement of Poll and Declaration of Result for the office of President and Parliament is recorded is known as the pink sheet.

It is called pink because it is coloured pink.

For the purpose of this article, the focus will be on the Statement of Poll and Declaration for the office of President.

Article 49 (2) of the 1992 Constitution states: “Immediately after the close of poll, the presiding officer shall, in the presence of such candidate or their representatives and their polling agents as are present, proceed to count, at the polling station, the ballot papers of that station and record the votes cast in favour of each candidate or question.”

‘Question’ here refers to the event a referendum is being organised and polls have closed for counting to proceed.

Article 49 (3) states: “The presiding officer, the candidate or their representative and, in the case of a referendum, the parties contesting or their agents and the polling agents if any, shall then sign a declaration stating – (a) the polling station; and (b) the number of votes cast in favour of each candidate or question: and the presiding officer shall, there and then, announce the results of the voting at the polling station before communicating them to the returning officer.”

Thus, the declaration as spelt out by the Constitution is recorded on the pink sheet, a copy of which is then handed over to representatives of the political parties.

It became famous in the Election Petition after the 2012 elections.

In Ghana, however, pink means serious business. Pink in Ghana’s politics since December 9, 2012 has not meant the same for the two main political parties in the country.

Per what the argument put before the Supreme by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), President John Dramani Mahama, benefited from the colour pink on December 9, 2012, the same cannot be said of the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Results collated on pink sheets and subsequently declared by the Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, inured to the benefit of President Mahama, but Nana Akufo-Addo and two others, per their arguments, saw the pink sheets from 11,138 polling stations as “tainted” with gross and widespread irregularities and not fit to be added to the tally of polls declared.

Nana Akufo-Addo, his running mate, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, and the Chairman of the NPP, Mr. Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, challenged the declaration of President Mahama as winner of the 2012 presidential election based on the pink sheets in their possession.

And aside from the general reference to rules of court, statutes, reported legal cases and the1992 Constitution, lawyers on all the sides relied heavily on the pink sheets to make their case.

Sittings at the Supreme Court were heavily characterized by objections and counter-objections relating to both filed and unfiled pink sheets.

The expression “pink sheet” has become so popular that it can hardly “pass by” without it being caught up in all manner of conversations in Ghana.

More Soon!