In recent months, political parties including the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and civil society groups such as the Let My Vote Count Alliance have made the case for urgent electoral reform in the lead up to the November 2016 elections.

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Barrister Mike Igini was, until recently, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, for Cross River and Edo States respectively. In this interview, he bares his mind on the use of the card  reader  for the 2015 general elections. Excerpts:

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We invited the media today for this news conference because we find it strange and potentialy dangerous that the most reasonable solution that was tabled by the VCRAC Crabbe panel for giving Ghana a credible register for credible elections in 2016 appears to have been totally ignored by the Electoral Commission. We, therefore, want to draw attention to this and ask you, journalists, the Fourth Estate of the Realm, to demand urgent answers from the Electoral Commission on the fate of the wise proposal from the EC’s own panel of experts for the introduction of validation for the voters’ register. Full Publication

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We study election fraud in a competitive but not fully consolidated multiparty democracy. Results from a randomized field experiment are used to investigate the effectiveness of newly-introduced biometric identification machines in reducing election fraud in Ghana’s December 2012 national elections. We uncover a non-random pattern to the frequent breakdowns of the equipment. In polling stations with a randomly assigned domestic election observer, machines were about 50 percent less likely to experience breakdown as they were in polling stations without observers. We also find that electoral competition in the parliamentary race is strongly associated with greater machine breakdown. Machine malfunction in turn facilitated election fraud, including overvoting, registry rigging, and ballot stuffing, especially where election observers were not present. Our results substantiate that partisan competition may promote election fraud in a newly-established competitive democracy. They also show that domestic election observers improve election integrity through direct observation and also thanks to their second-order effects on election administration. Full Publication

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REPORT ON THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION PETITION IN GHANA – 23 February 2013 (updated 18 March)
The international community, generally, endorsed Ghana’s 2012 elections as “free and fair.” Ghana, the continent’s star of democracy, had done it once again for Africa. John Mahama, the declared winner, was duly sworn in without any violent protests on January 7, 2013. But, the country’s biggest opposition party filed a petition in Ghana’s supreme court, (the first of its kind in the country’s history), challenging the presidential results. It is noteworthy that since the first election of Ghana’s Fourth Republic in 1992, 2012 was the only other time that a majority of the political parties (5 out of 7) that participated in the contest had come out to raise major concerns about the conduct of the polls. Indeed, the second runner-up and leader of the Progressive People’s Party, Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, is on record as saying, "I have been involved in elections since 1992 and this is the worst in terms of credibility." See link: http://www.theafricareport.com/News-Analysis/ghana-election-results-another-party-backs-npp-fraud-claims.html
Press release on Thursday public forum on Govt/STX Korea Housing Deal
Danquah Institute(DI), The Imani Centre and The World Bank are organizing a public forum to probe Government’s US$1.5 Billion Supplier’s Credit Facility Agreement for Housing with STX Korea, a construction firm from the Republic of Korea. Tuesday June 01, Accra– Danquah Institute (DI), a leader in policy advancement, advocacy and research in collaboration with the World Bank and Imani Centre will on Thursday 3rd June hold a public forum at the British Council Hall on the feasibility of the agreement between the Government of Ghsna and STX Korea for the construction of 200,000 housing units for $10 billion.
DI wants $3bn ‘illegal’ CDB loan cancelled and cured
The Danquah Institute has described the $3 billion China Development Bank loan contracted by the Mills-Mahama led National Democratic Congress government as an illegality as it breaches sections of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act passed by parliament this year. DI is therefore calling for the cancellation and subsequent curing of this loan facility and has urged the parties to the contract to take note of this and proceed to cure it or proceed to their own detriment.
Fraud and corruption is costing Britain £30 billion a year
It is almost 25 years since the Roskill Report published its radical recommendations for improving the way complex fraud, corruption and financial market crimes are tackled. In that time the complexity of business transactions and the amount of activity in financial markets have both increased dramatically.
All for the sake of the party
Overseas, Ghana’s stock could hardly be higher. Its many admirers point to its record of organising free elections, resolving conflict and sound economic management. So onlookers are baffled by the outbreak of unarmed hostilities at the heart of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC). Ghanaians seem more sanguine, some suggesting it adds some much-needed excitement to local politics.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, we have called you here to inform the good people of Ghana through you about developments in Parliament regarding the STX housing project. You will recall that on Thursday, July 15, 2010, the NDC government through it’s Parliamentary representatives withdrew from the floor of the House a motion to approve of A Supplier’s Credit Agreement Between the Government of Ghana and STX Engineering and Construction Ghana Limited for an amount of US$1,525,443,468 for the construction of 30,000 units of houses for the security services in Ghana. This withdrawal was ostensibly occasioned by arguments proffered by the Minority side which had started to debate the motion on Wednesday, July 14, 2010. We are here today to tell Ghanaians the reasons why the Minority was asking Parliament to reject the proposal placed before it at the instance of Professor Mills, since the agreement came by Executive approval and not Cabinet approval. It is critically important to let the good people of Ghana know this because, as you may recollect, of the seven people that the Minority had lined up for the debate only two people spoke before the government beat a hasty retreat.
IEA Debate: NPP to introduce ‘Anas principle’ to increase tax revenue
The Presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Akufo-Addo has noted that his government will introduce a new system for the efficient collection of tax revenue which he has christened, The Anas principle. Speaking at the IEA Presidential Encounter on Tuesday, the NPP flagbearer explained that the new system will be made up of “highly motivated professional groups of young people who will work undercover to unearth examples of corruption wherever they can find it.”
Akufo-Addo jabs Mahama over unemployment
The flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party says the government’s record on job creation over the last four years is not the least but impressive. Nana Akufo-Addo said the president and his team of ministers by announcing phantom jobs only add insult to injury of the many unemployed youth who are desperately looking for jobs.
The Danquah Institute, an Accra-based policy think tank, has called on the collective leadership of the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union to actively show, with urgency, leadership and concern in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “Such a priority engagement could boost ongoing domestic efforts at finding a democratic solution to the pending constitutional crisis in the biggest black nation in the world,” the think tank argues, adding that the situation is threatening Nigeria’s democracy and the stability of the region. After a longer history of instability, coups, military dictatorship and controversial elections, Africa’s most populous nation is struggling to contain the ramifications of a seriously ill, and absent, president.
Africa’s tax systems: progress, but what is the next generation of reforms?
Taxation is zipping up the development agenda, but the discussion is often focussed on international aspects such as tax havens or the Robin Hood Tax. Both very important, but arguably, even more important is what happens domestically – are developing country tax systems regressive or progressive? Are they raising enough cash to fund state services? Are they efficient and free of corruption? This absolutely magisterial overview of the state of tax systems in Africa comes from Mick Moore (right), who runs the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD). It was first published by the Africa Research Institute. Anglophone countries have led the way in reforming tax administration in Africa, considerably more so than their francophone peers. The reasons for this are numerous. Networks of international tax specialists are based mainly in English-speaking countries. Many of the modern systems that promote best practice within tax authorities were developed in anglophone countries, especially Australia. International donors, and particularly the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), have directly and indirectly promoted a lot of reform of national tax authorities. In fact, this has been one of the success stories of British aid.