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Journalists’ accreditation money in GCB

By
Benjamin Mensah, GNA

Accra, July 26, GNA – The monies the Electoral
Commission (EC) took from media persons for accreditation to cover last year’s
general election are intact at the GCB.

Mrs Charlotte Osei, Chair of the Commission
told Parliament on Wednesday that the money was estimated at GH¢2.5 million,
but did find expression in the 2017 Budget statement.

“It was an oversight,” she said, adding that
she was speaking as the Chair for the Commission, and not for all the
Commissioners.

She indicated that the oversight was
discovered after she got the letter last week from Parliament to answer the
question.

Mrs Osei’s appearance in Parliament followed
an urgent question filed by Mr Eugene Antwi, Member of Parliament (MP) for
Subin over some discrepancies in the Commission’s 2017 financial statement.

The MP for Subin had explained to the media
that he had detected discrepancies in the Commission’s 2017 financial report
and that Government’s 2017 Budget had shown that the EC did not raise any money
internally last year.

The MP said he did not understand the
development as the Commission raised some monies during the December 2016
general election from journalists and citizens.

The Commission charged Gh¢10.00 from
journalists for media accreditation and GH¢5.00 for replacement of lost voter’s
ID cards ahead of the elections, but the total accrued was not captured in the
EC’s financial statement submitted to the government.

She said the money charged from journalists
for accreditation cards during the 2016 elections was handed to the
contractors.

“The producers charged GH¢ 8.00 and the
EC took GH¢ 2.00,” she said, adding that the money the printers took did
not include VAT and NHIS charges.

 Mrs
Osei said the practice of collecting money from journalists was not a new
practice and that it had been done in other elections in other elections,
especially in the district assembly elections to allow more journalists to
cover the elections and to give them access restricted areas.

‘This is not the first time the Commission has
charged journalists for accreditation. This had happened in the district
assembly elections and so it wasn’t the first time,” she said.

“Judging by the numbers; that’s 4,271 and the
way that the media covered the elections very effectively, we don’t think it is
a bad practice.”

She gave the assurance that the Commission
would liaise with the Ministry of Finance to correct the mistake.

Meanwhile, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu on
Wednesday withdrew the Office of Special Prosecutor Bill, for the Bill to be
taken through the normal procedure as recommended by the Committee on
Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, rather than a certificate of
urgency requested by the Government.

The Minority has been demanding the Government
to withdraw the bill because it was not laid in accordance with the required
provisions.

The Zongo Development Fund Bill was also
withdrawn.

GNA

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