Ghanaian election official in prison for allegedly stealing biometric verification machine

January 4, 2013 - 

For the second time now, the Goaso Circuit Court in Ghana has put the presiding officer of the Bediako CMB Shed polling station in prison for allegedly stealing a biometric verification machine, used in the country’s national election last December.

The imprisoned officer, Samuel Owusu Sarphon was first arraigned on December 17 and will appear in court again on January 7 of this year, Graphic Online reports.

After being called in for questioning, Sarpong and his wife returned the biometric polling machine to the police. After rounds of interrogation and questioning, it has also been revealed that after counting ballots on voting day, Sarpong failed to declare the results.

This news comes after a major presidential election in Ghana, representing the world record for voters registered and verified within 48 hours and the country’s sixth successful election since returning to constitutional rule in 1992. This election also operates as a case study of a successful African election leveraging biometrics as Ghana now joins a growing list of African countries to use a biometric voters’ register, including Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Nigera.

Kenya is currently in the process of registering voters for its election, though as of yet, only 11 million voters have been enrolled using biometrics.  

Of the total 26,000 polling stations across Ghana, 413 of them did not finish the voting process on the intended day and voting had to be completed the following day. As reported previously in, despite delays related to the biometric technology, this new system did identify many multiple voters in the 2012 election.

Last month, the General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) called upon the Electoral Commission in Ghana to clarify the status of all verification machines used in the country’s election as reports of election officers receiving instructions to reset biometric machines to zero verification at polling stations have emerged. 

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About Adam Vrankulj

Adam Vrankulj is an editor for His background consists of online news writing, editing and content marketing. Adam has written for, BlogTO and was the editor and curator for the nextMEDIA and CIX Source publications. He has a degree in journalism and is passionate about science, technology and social innovation. Contact Adam, or follow him at @adamvrankulj