, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 27 – The High Court is on Tuesday set to start hearing a case filed by the National Super Alliance (NASA) seeking cancellation of the ballot paper printing tender awarded to Dubai-based printing firm, Al Ghurair.
The case will be heard by a three-judge bench of Joel Ngugi, Joseph Mativo and George Odunga who were appointed by Chief Justice David Maraga on Friday after the file was forwarded to him by Justice George Odunga of the High Court.
Justice Odunga who declined to grant NASA’s plea to quash the ballot printing tender described the issues raised by NASA as “weighty constitutional matters” which could only be determined by a panel of judges appointed by the Chief Justice.
NASA is accusing the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of violating the procurement laws to favour the Dubai firm, further arguing the award of the Sh2.5 billion tender to Al Ghurair was based on ulterior motives.
In papers filed before the High Court, the alliance also argued that the award of the tender to the printing firm could prejudice the expectations of free and fair polls and ultimately put to question the integrity of the General Election.
The hearing comes even as IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati announced that the firm has already started printing ballot papers for all other positions apart from the presidential ballots which will be printed next month.
IEBC indicated that the contract with Al Ghurair was signed on June 10, warning that its cancellation would lead to loss of funds due to implications contained in the exit clauses of the pact.
Odunga allowed presidential aspirants Ekuru Aukot, Samuel Waweru, the Jubilee Party and Attorney General to be enjoined in the proceedings.
On June 17, Aukot had argued that for purposes of restoring the trust of Kenyans in the electoral process, IEBC should consider removing the component of printing of presidential ballot papers from Al Ghurair and give it to another firm.
“IEBC should remove the component of printing of the Presidential Ballot Papers from Al Ghurair to be given to a neutral party under supervision of the Election Observers led by the United Nations if they claim that there no time. There’s sufficient time to be able to print at least presidential ballot papers by another independent entity,” the Thirdway Alliance leader said.