The Electoral Commission has turned down a request by the Member of Parliament for Ashaiman, Ernest Norgbey, for the provision of information on how the commission contracted its consultants.
Ernest Norgbey through his lawyers based the request on the Right to Information Law.
The MP wanted to know the processes the Commission adopted prior to contracting the services of Dr. Ofori-Adjei, IT Consultant and Mr. A. Akrofi, Procurement Consultant; and whether the said procurement was done in accordance with Part 6 of the Public Procurement Act.
Per the letter dated 3rd February 2020, written by Mr. Norgbey’s lawyer, Martin Kpebu and addressed to the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, the lawmaker requested in hard copy form or on a flash drive, the record of the proceedings for the said procurement.
But in its response, the EC’s lawyers said although their client is willing to provide the information, Parliament is yet to determine the fees and charges applicable to such requests.
“Our client acknowledges your clients right under both the constitution and the Right to Information, 2019 (Act 989) as you rightly stated. As you are well aware, Act 989 was passed to actually operationalize Article 21(f) of the Constitution. Section 1(1) of Act 989 as you rightly cited provides that the access to information shall be subject to the provision of the Act.”
The EC’s lawyers went on further to quote portions of the Act which states that: “An applicant seeking access to information under this Act shall pay the fees or charge approved by Parliament in accordance with the fees and charges (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2009 (Act 793).”
The lawyers however noted that: “As ready and willing as our client is to provide the information requested by your client, it is not immediately able to do so because the fees and charges applicable are yet to be determined in accordance with law.”
Ernest Norgbey considering court action to get information from EC
Meanwhile, Ernest Norgbey has described the EC’s response as “bogus.” He has thus threatened to drag the commission to court over the issue.
“It just shows clearly that the EC wants to hide behind some technicalities and perpetuate the illegality. We are still going to write to them and draw their attention to section 28 of the Public Procurement Act that allows any citizen to go to any entity to request for any information. From there, we will head to court to subpoena them to make sure that the court orders them to provide us with that information,” he said on Eyewitness News on Monday.