4 February 2013

Ghana: E.C. Fails to Pay Officers

After receiving a whopping a GH¢ 262,256,525 from the central government for the conduct of the 2012 parliamentary and presidential elections, information reaching The Chronicle indicates that the Electoral Commission (EC) has still not paid the over 130,000 casual workers it recruited to supervise the conduct of the elections.

The Media Liaison officer of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Abdul Hakim Ahmed announced the release of the above money to the EC in September last year.

According to him, the disbursement represents 91.5% of the total election related budget presented to the government, but almost two months after the elections, the EC is yet to settle its indebtedness to the poor officers.

The Principal Public Relations Officer of the Commission, Madam Sylvia Annor confirmed in a telephone interview with The Chronicle yesterday that the casual workers have not been paid and that the EC was doing everything possible to raise funds to pay them.

"They will be paid as soon as practicable", she said, adding that casual workers are always paid after they have executed the work assigned them, and that this has been the practice in all the previous elections.

Some of the aggrieved workers who spoke to The Chronicle, however, argued that the EC did not tell them that the payment of their allowances would take such a long time.

According to them, they were made to understand that all payments due them would be made immediately after the elections, but almost two months after the presidential and parliamentary elections, the EC has not communicated any information to them, as to when the money they made out of their sweats would be paid to them.

The casual workers further told The Chronicle that they sacrificed to supervise the conduct of the elections and, therefore, unhappy with the way the EC was treating them.

Information gleaned by The Chronicle indicates that over 130,000 officials were recruited by the EC to support the conduct of the election.

Available record indicates that five officials- the presiding officer and those in charge of the verification machine, presidential and parliamentary ballot papers, and an officer in charge of the register were recruited to man each of the 26,000 polling stations that were created across the country.

A source which spoke to this reporter indicated that the total amount involved could be well over GH¢15 million, an amount which could have been settled with ease, looking at the colossal money the EC had collected from the government.

Also, this is not the first the EC has failed to settle on time the amount due officers it recruited to help in the execution of its mandate.

Mid last year, officers who were recruited to handle the biometric registration have to shuttle between their homes and the EC offices several times before the reduced allowance was finally paid to them.

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