By Osugo Moseti
At a heated PAC sitting yesterday, two senior ODM MPs appeared to differ over the range of questions an IEBC official should be asked during a meeting between MPs and former IEBC ICT Director Dismas Ong’ondi.
PAC is investigating the loss of Ksh 3.9 billion consumed in the procurement of faulty electoral equipment for the March 2013 elections.
Yesterday, it emerged that IEBC had failed to follow expert advice against rolling out the use of Electronic Identification Devices (EVIDs) which failed during the 2013 general elections when paired with the Biometric Voter Registration kits.
Ong’ondi revealed IEBC was warned against procuring sub-standard equipments from Face Technologies but through the insistence of the Chair Isaack Hassan, the body went ahead and purchased the equipments. BecauseÂ there was no way IEBC was going to be able to feed the information from the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) to the EVID gadgets on time, Ong’ondi told the lawmakers the system was set to fail from the beginning.
â€œWe advised IEBC on the risk of failure of the kits but our advice was ignored,â€Â he said.
Even more egregious was the dispute between Face Technologies and IEBC as to whose responsibility it was to cobvert BVR data into EVID as Face Technologies declined to do so while IEBC had no internal capacity to also do the same.
During the supreme court hearing, the use of multiple registers became a sticking point as CORD accused IEBC of rigging the election by allowing multiple registers. CORD maintains the failure by IEBC to use the EVID system gave leeway for stuffing of ballot boxes with non-existent votes.
Over one million people were captured as having voted for the President only, almost all who voted for the Jubilee candidate.
Kitutu Chache MP Timothy Bosire a committee member questioned if the electoral commission had an internal capacity to convert the data captured during the voter registration into EVID.
Prodded by Suna East MP Junet Mohammed why the result transmission system failed, he revealed that IEBC had configured their servers to a certain limit of space which was grossly less than than what could have comfortably accommodated the transmission.
However it is the shocking revelation that both IEBC and Face Technologies declined to convert BVR data into EVID which shocked the committee, at least the ODM members in the committee. Even worse, some of the EVID gadgets arrived in the county as late as four days to election, February 28, which forced IEBC to hurriedly employ a number of Kenyans at Kasarani stadium to try filling in the data. Four days was too little, too late.
Save for the Kasarani group, the field officers did not know how to handle the BVRs and were not trained to, he revealed.
â€œI knew that the way data in captured in the BVR was not going to be the same as in the EVID. It was the responsibility of the supplier to provide the infrastructure but they disputed…If EVID equipment was supplied early, the system tested in the field by the end users who are voters, this system would have worked,â€ said Ongondi.
He explained that they rectified the anomaly within 15 minutes of notice but already the election was on and that most of the gadgets had failed because the laptop batteries were not charged.
PAC new chair Nicholas Gumbo appeared to shield the ex-IEBC official from ‘hostile’ questioning, cautioning him not to say things he couldn’t prove their veracity.