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17.04.2015 Headlines

UG SRC Election Brouhaha: BNI Denies Torturing Software Developer

By MyJoyOnline
UG SRC Election Brouhaha: BNI Denies Torturing Software Developer
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The Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) says it acted swiftly in the University of Ghana Students Representative Council election to protect national security and says investigations are underway to bring closure to the electronic voting system at the center of the controversy.

The interest of the Bureau, according to the investigators, is to further address the allegation of manipulation of ballots used in the polls and to ensure fair play in the choice of the patrons in choosing their leaders.

The software developer, Stephen Forson, who is the managing director of IPRO Solutions contracted by the university, was picked up by the BNI on the 14 of this month but has been released on bail pending further investigations. Controversy arose after the University of Ghana's SRC election contested between Davies Ohene Fobi and Mikdad Mohammed after allegations of manipulation of the votes towards one candidate was raised. This led to confusion and series of demonstration on the university campus. The BNI took over issue after a formal complaint was filed at their office by one of the candidates in the election.

Preliminary findings established after the initial investigations suggest the software was tempered with to the advantage of one of the candidates by someone yet to be identified.

Information picked by Joynews indicates that the Bureau retrieved six laptops computers used as servers in the said election for examination. Using personal laptop provided by the software developer, Stephen Forson, a practical demonstration was conducted on its application in the presence of the developer and his father, George Amoah Baiden and other independent persons.

During the demonstration, five voters were added to the University's electoral roll and Forson was given one of the laptops used in the actual voting to demonstrate how the voting system works in a two man race. The results after the demonstration showed clearly that the system had been manipulated to favor one candidate as all but one votes went to a particular candidate though they had voted for another.

Source at the BNI says Forson admitted the system which was used in four previous elections at the university has been compromised but denied being the architect.

'What I can say is that Forson, as the brand owner of the software, is the only person who knows how it works and could manipulate it because not even the electoral commissioner who conducted the elections knew how the process worked,' the source indicated.

Joynews is also learning from the investigations that regardless of which candidates one votes for, the electronic voting system is programmed to credit a specific candidate with all the votes from voters whose identification numbers end with an even number whiles votes cast by voters whose identification numbers end with an odd numbers are shared equally between the two candidates. It also came out clear that architects of the manipulation did so to favor Davies Ohene Fobi where he was credited with all votes cast by students with voters ID numbers ending with an even number if they voted for the other candidate Mikdad Mohammed.

'We have forwarded our report to the university authority but we are looking for the other persons believed to have played a role in the whole exercise because Forson has admitted someone other than him did it,' according to the source.

The Bureau is also denying reports in the media alleging that Forson, when arrested, was tortured by people at the Flagstaff House and later handed to the BNI.

'Let's clear the air and say that he was taken from his residence by our officers on the morning of 14th April at about 6am following reports received, we are still continuing out investigations and once it is done will forward the docket to the attorney generals department for advice,' the source intimated.

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