The Electoral Commission has noted a news item carried by Joy News depicting the burning of ballot papers. We place on record that the assertions made in the video by an agent of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) are false and entreat the public to disregard it. For the attention of the public, seven (7) local printing houses were engaged to print the 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary ballot papers. After such a massive printing exercise, there is always waste or damaged ballots which are shredded by each printing house in the presence of Political Party Agents. These shredded ballots are then burnt in incinerators; together with the plates that bear the design of each ballot. It is important to emphasize that the burning takes place in incinerators owned and located within some printing houses such as Buckpress, and in public incinerating sites if the printing houses do not have such a plant. The Political Party agents located in the printing houses are informed about the shredding and burning of waste ballots and as part of the process, they are made to sign an undertaking of consent. This is a routine process that has been in place at the Electoral Commission. It is not new. The Commission clarifies the events that led to the burning of waste products at the Old Fadama Mortuary Road Incineration Site as follows:
▪ On Wednesday, 25th of November, 2020, it was agreed between Political Parties, Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), Ghana Police Service, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and staff of Innolink Printing House that waste and damaged ballots would be burnt at the Old Fadama Mortuary Road Incineration Site.
▪ The above listed stakeholders, including the agent of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) signed an undertaking to this effect. The burning was to take place on the 27th November, 2020.
▪ For transparency and accountability, we attach a copy of the certificate of disposal as signed by all the above stakeholders. After the ballots were shredded at the printing house, the Political Parties, in full knowledge that the burning at the Mortuary Road Incineration Plant was of shredded ballot papers, did not go to witness it.
▪ It appears the NDC agent took advantage of their absence and invited a journalist from Joy News to cover the burning, and falsely claimed that the ballots being burnt were the 1 million extra ballots the Commission had allegedly printed. His motive was to justify the earlier fabrications put out on social media to the effect that the Commission was secretly printing additional ballots. This is most unfortunate.
Indeed, it is difficult to understand how the Commission would secretly print one million ballots and then openly, in broad daylight, burn all the ballots in the presence of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and Political Parties. We find it unfortunate that the Joy News reporter did not verify this erroneous, misleading fabrication by the NDC agent. From the video, it is obvious that the papers being burnt are shredded, therefore it is most unfortunate that a Joy News Reporter would put out such a story. This is an affront to sound journalistic principles and ethics, and we call on Joy News Management to take this matter up and correct the erroneous impression put out to the public.
The Commission assures the general public that only the specified number of ballot papers was printed in all 7 printing houses. This comprises the actual number of voters per constituency plus five percent only.
We entreat all media houses to be circumspect in their reportage as we inch closer to the elections since their reports have the potential to either maintain or negatively impact the peace of our dear nation.