Technology company Oracle has raised issues with the IEBC about software supplied with election equipment that may not be properly licenced by it.
If the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is not licenced as the end-user of the software, Oracle can demand that the IEBC pay for it or be sued for piracy.
The software is supposed to be used alongside the election equipment, the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System, delivered by French firm Safran Identity and Security that was awarded the tender.
The IEBC is set to start biometric voter verification on Thursday in all the 44,000 polling stations across the country. It has also received 11,000 devices and staff training has been going on.
The IEBC chiefs hurriedly awarded the Sh4 billion tender to Safran Identity and Security, despite its having been knocked out by the tender evaluation committee.
But in what may now throw preparations for the General Election into disarray, the Star was told yesterday by staff of the Commission that the Safran licence which IEBC acquired at Sh500 million could lack a number of proper licences.
“In a meeting with the Commission, Oracle could not confirm the authenticity of the licence, [whether] it was purchased from a third party. Even then the documentation should have stated it somewhere,” a highly placed source familiar with the behind-the-scenes intrigues told the Star.
By 7pm, Oracle country director Corine Nana had not responded to our calls and text messages, despite promising to give us a response.
Safran supplied the over 15,000 BVRs that were used in 2013, amid claims of inflated pricing.
There are now questions why the Commission disregarded the report of the evaluation team against going back to Safran.
It is alleged that the kits are yet to be stress-tested, especially for areas with unstable electricity supply, ahead of the Thursday voter verification of the register.
Safran had been knocked out by a five-member evaluation committee, chaired by David Towett, on four grounds.
First, the copy of certificate of incorporation it submitted indicated that it has been in existence for nine years, two months and 18 days by the closing date, as opposed to the required 10 years.
Safran’s tax compliance certificate had also expired.
The accounts the firm provided, the evaluation committee report states, were not signed by any external auditors and therefore could not be considered as audited accounts.
Some pages of the submitted bid documents were not serialised.
But IEBC boss Wafula Chebukati then defended the decision to single-source, citing time and budgetary constrains.
Gemalto SA, the company that was responsive on all mandatory requirements, was later knocked out on what the IEBC said were budgetary constraints.
The company quoted Sh5.2 billion above IEBC’s Sh3.8 billion budget.
According to the Election (Amendment) Act 2017, voter verification should take place in all the polling stations across the country.
“The Commission shall, not later than ninety days before the date of a general election, open the Register of Voters for verification of biometric data by members of the public at their respective polling stations for a period of thirty days,” the Act states.
However, Safran has only supplied 11,000 gadgets known as the KIEMS. Over 30,000 gadgets are still pending.
In an interview with the Star last week, Chebukati said only 10,000 gadgets will be distributed for the exercise and the remaining 1,000 will serve as backup.
There are fears that some IEBC staff are setting the stage to again award the Sh2.5 billion contract for the printing of ballot papers to Dubai printing firm Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing.
Some 15 firms were invited to bid, but only eight responded. Among them are Uniprint Ltd from South Africa, Ellams Product Kenya Ltd, GI Solutions Ltd from UK, Rosecate Promotions and Supplies Ltd from Kenya and African Infrastructure Development Company, also from Kenya.
“There are forces within the IEBC who still want to derail starting the evaluation process to cite lack of time to facilitate them to go for direct tender to Al Ghurair. Tenders of this nature can be evaluated in five days with all experts on board and the IEBC will get the best bidders for supply of a sensitive nature,” another source said.
The Isaack Hassan-led IEBC team was hounded out of office late last year, mostly because of integrity issues.
The National Super Alliance principals have consistently condemned the IEBC for what they call shoddy preparations for the August 8 General Election.
By the STAR