The National Identification Authority has described as inaccurate, statements made by former President John Mahama regarding the Ghana Card issuance across the country ahead of Tuesday’s voters’ registration exercise by the Electoral Commission.
Mr Mahama had claimed Thursday that the Ghana Card, which has been made one of two identification documents as proof of identification for the voters’ registration has not been rolled out in full.
At a news conference to respond to the Supreme Court verdict in the NDC cases against the voters register compilation, the NDC flagbearer also claimed the Ghana cards are being issued with no mechanism for verification.
He claimed the NIA itself has admitted to duplication of thousands of Ghana cards.
But the Authority in a statement Friday said the statements by the ex-president are false.
It said since April 29, 2019 the NIA has fully rolled out the mass registration exercise to register Ghanaians and issue them with biometric ID Cards and was left with just a week to complete when the covid-19 outbreak curtailed the exercise in the Eastern Region which was the last one.
“The Mop-Up Exercise currently underway is to further provide opportunity for those who could not register to do so,” it said.
As at June 23, this year, a total of 11,385,494 eligible Ghanaians have been registered and 11,172,261 cards printed with 10,854,829 cards issued.
“The target was to register 80% of the population aged 15 and above. A total number of Ghanaians aged 18 and above have been issued 10,576,120 Ghana Cards. By the end of the mop-up registration exercise, it is expected that 16.7 million eligible Ghanaians would have been captured on the National Identity Register and issued the Ghana Card,” it said.
On the verification claims made by Mr Mahama, the NIA said “this claim is false”.
It said 7,163,935 of Ghana Cards have been issued through the online verification mechanism.
“There is an inbuilt mechanism for the verification of the 3,690,894 cards currently being issued using the Card Issuance Album. The use of manual verification is not a novel practice. There are various methods of verification.
“One can use the ocular inspection method, the match-on-card method or the one-to-many method which is online. The National Identity System is designed to utilize any or all of these methods,” it explained.
The NIA said applicants who visit the Card Issuance Centres are identified and issued their Ghana Cards by NIA officials using “the ocular verification method” where crosschecking of their photographs, name, date of birth, telephone number and other details as captured in the album are done.
“The manual verification will reduce the risk of applicants undermining the protocols on physical distancing (COVID-19),” it added.
The Authority said the claims by Mr Mahama that there are duplications in the cards “is regrettably false”
“Out of the 11,172,261 printed as at 23rd June 2020, there has only been 525 instances where more than one card has been printed for an individual bearing different Personal Identification Numbers. This situation was caused by an error during a system update which error has since been resolved,” it explained.
It said even that, only one card can be active against a set of biometrics (face, fingers and iris).
“In effect, no one can use two cards at the same time neither can anyone use the card of another person. The system automatically assigns invalid multiple card details to a watch list,” it stated.
The NIA assured that its mandate to register and issue Ghana Cards to citizens of Ghana “is very much on course”.