PrimeNewsGhana

Data Protection Commission to investigate EC for selling voters’ information to private firm

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh
EC logo
EC logo

The Data Protection Commission will soon investigate the Electoral Commission (EC) for selling electoral data to a software development company.

In an interview with Joy FM, Executive Director of the Data Protection Commission, Patricia Odusei-Poku said the issues revealed by the Auditor General's report will be treated with utmost seriousness.

“If indeed information has been sold, then that’s definitely a breach and we are definitely looking into it. If there has been a sale of personal data with evidence that is clear in this report then we will follow due process,” she said.
She said all stakeholders in the alleged breach will be assessed and audited.

Auditor-General’s report

A special audit carried out by the Auditor-General on the EC has revealed the Commission sold voters’ data to an Accra-based software development company, Bysystem Ltd.

According to the 2018 audit, Bysystem Ltd bought the data from the EC and further sold them to financial service providers for a fee.

The audit report also found fault with a lack of contractual agreement to cover the deal between the EC and Bysystem Ltd in breach of procurement laws.

“We further noted that Bysystem Ltd. failed to remit the 20% commission due the Electoral Commission, in respect of charges for accessing the data, for the 2016 and 2017 financial years,” the audit eport stated.

The EC, according to the report, responded to the findings and stated that “there exists a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the commission and Bysystem Limited.”

The EC also said it suspended the MoU in the third quarter of 2016 and that prior to the suspension, the software development company had made a payment for the first and second quarters in 2016.

However, the Auditor-General, after reviewing the MoU, said it did not constitute a Service Level Agreement.

Furthermore, the report revealed that the basis of the 20% commission is not stated in the MoU.

Also, the Auditor-General said there was no evidence of the suspension of the MoU as stated by management in their response.

Recommendation

The Auditor-General has since recommended that the EC make available the contract agreement on the arrangement, if any, and recover all outstanding commission due to the Electoral Commission within 30 days from the receipt of the management letter.

It warned that failure to do so means the contract shall be abrogated and the approving and authorising officers surcharged.

READ ALSO :