Biometric verification machines go missing in Ghana

February 4, 2013 - 

Four biometric verification machines used in Ghana’s 2012 presidential elections have mysteriously disappeared.

Steve Opoku-Mensah, the Western Regional Director of the Electoral Commission (EC) said the EC sent 165 verification machines to the Constituency for the elections and the shortfall was detected when the commission tried to retrieve verification machines for safe keeping, Modern Ghana reports. 

Reported in, in a separate incident, a Ghanaian election official, Samuel Owusu Sarphon, is in prison for allegedly stealing a biometric verification machine, following the December 2012 election in the country.

2012 was a record-breaking year for Ghana, as following a successful election using biometric verification technology, the country became the world record holder for voters registered and verified within 48 hours.

This election also operated 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.

In 2012, 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