Thursday, April 16, 2015

BNI picks up software developer for Legon election fraud

Officials of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) have picked up a 30-year-old man for allegedly manipulating computer software for conducting elections.
Stephen Forson, a software developer and manager of electronic voting on most campuses in parts of the country, was picked up last Tuesday after the BNI had received reports of the alleged manipulation.
Forson had conducted Students Representative Council (SRC) elections at the University of Ghana on April 9, 2015 before his arrest the following day.
A highly-placed BNI source told the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday that, “Following allegations of manipulations of the electronic voting system of the University of Ghana, Legon [used in] SRC elections held on April 9, 2015, the bureau requested evidence and retrieved six of the computers used as servers during the election.
“A careful scrutiny of the computers during preliminary investigations revealed that the electronic voting system was manipulated to favour a particular candidate,” the source said.
According to the investigators, the suspect initially denied the computers could be manipulated but “when investigators gave him one of the retrieved computers used during the voting exercise to demonstrate by adding five names to the voter register and voting for the two SRC presidential candidates, the results came out manipulated.
“Although the given new “voters” voted three for candidate A and two for candidate B, the results as declared by the electronic system gave candidate A one vote and candidate B four votes.”
Method of operation
Preliminary investigations revealed that the electronic voting system was tampered with to credit all votes with voter identities ending with even numbers to a particular candidate, while voter identities ending with odd numbers were equally shared based on the ballots cast.
The source denied media reports that Forson was arrested in the night and tortured by people from the Flagstaff House and later handed over to the BNI.
“He was picked up from his home and sent directly to the offices of the BNI where he is currently being kept,” the source said.
It said a thorough scrutiny of the retrieved computers was going on to unravel how the system was manipulated.
National issue
Asked why the BNI had had to investigate the issue, the source said, “The BNI is there for everyone, including students. If anyone feels cheated or defrauded in any manner and reports to the BNI, our duty is to investigate.
“In any case, this is a serious matter because it can assume national dimension one day, and it is, therefore, important the BNI looks into the method of operation and how to curb a future occurrence.
“We cannot sit aloof for such an incident to have a spill over effect. That would be dangerous for our democracy,“  the source said.
“We do not know who the contestants are. All we are interested in is whether or not fraud was perpetuated during the voting process,” it added.
The source said the docket on the case would be prepared after investigations and would be forwarded to the Attorney-General’s office for advice.

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