The National Identification Authority (NIA) has refuted claims made by the NDC’s Flagbearer John Mahama that the NIA has not fully rolled out the Ghana Card registration.
A statement signed by Mr Francis Palmdeti, Head of Corporate Affairs of the NIA, in Accra on Friday, made reference to Mr Mahama’s comments during a News conference he held on Thursday, June 25, following the Supreme Court ruling.
The NIA said it fully rolled out the mass registration exercise for Ghana Card on April 29, 2019 to register Ghanaians.
It said the Authority had since been issuing biometric ID cards to applicants and was left with just a week to complete, but for the outbreak of COVID-19, NIA would have completed the registration exercise in the Eastern Region by March 27, 2020 after having conducted the exercise in 15 other regions.
It said mop-up exercises were currently underway to further provide opportunity for those who could not register to do so.
It said as at June 23, the Authority had registered a total of 11,385,494 eligible Ghanaians, printed 11,172,261 cards and issued 10,854,829 cards to qualified Ghanaians.
It said the target was to register 80 per cent of the population aged 15 and above and a total of 10, 576,120 Ghanaians aged 18 and above with issued with Ghana cards.
It said 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.
On Mr Mahama’s claim that Ghana cards were issued with no mechanism for verification, the NIA said that claim was false, noting that majority (7,163,935) of Ghana Cards were issued through the online verification mechanism.
It said there was an inbuilt mechanism for the verification of the 3,690,894 cards currently being issued using the Card Issuance Album and the use of manual verification was not a novel practice since there were various methods of verification.
It said one can use the ocular inspection method, the match-on-card method or the one-to-many method which is online and the NIA system was designed to utilize any or all of these methods.
The applicants who visited the Card Issuance Centres were identified and issued their Ghana Cards by NIA officials using the ocular verification method that is Cross-checking of their photographs, name, date of birth, telephone number and other details as captured in the album against the registration slips they submit or verbal claim.
“It must be added that, the adoption of the card issuance album in the card distribution process was informed by the following considerations: To enable speedy distribution of 3.9 million cards to applicants and prevent the situation of having 3.9 million applicants across the country going to the registration centres when NIA’s mop-up exercise starts.
It said the NIA’s manual verification would reduce the risk of applicants undermining the protocols on physical distancing.
On Mr Mahama’s claim that the NIA had admitted to duplication of thousands of Ghana cards, the NIA said that statement was regrettably false, noting that out of the 11,172,261 printed as at June 23, there has only been 525 instances, where more than one card was printed for an individual bearing different personal identification numbers.
It said that situation was caused by an error during a system update which has since been resolved.
It said a more detailed explanation on the issue is on the NIA’s website, which is contained in a speech delivered by the Executive Secretary of NIA, Prof. Kenneth Agyemang-Attafuah when he addressed the media on June 17, 2020.
It said only one card can be active against a set of biometrics (face, fingers and iris).
In effect, no one could 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 said.
“NIA would like to assure the public that its mandate to register and issue Ghana Cards to citizens of Ghana is much on course.”