, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 23 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has defended rejection of the bid by 4G Identity Solutions to supply Biometric Voter Registration equipment.
IEBC chairman Isaack Hassan told a news conference on Monday that the decision was informed by negative information received about the company after it won the tender.
He said that the process has been above board having involved external observers and evaluators and denied reports that the tender had caused a rift within the commission.
“In its recommendation, the evaluation committee recommended 4G Identity Solutions. But after we received negative information we contacted the Public Procurement Oversight Authority (PPOA) which told us that 29 bidders were not debarred. It is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which wrote to us and advised us against dealing with the company,” Hassan explained.
He said the IEBC will act expeditiously and within the procurement rules to complete tender matters as it seeks to deliver a free and fair election.
“In almost everything we do we find ourselves always balancing between speed and surety. In the din of complying with the requirements of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, someone may conclude that there is some protraction and gridlock within the commission. We would like to assure Kenyans that we will professionally conclude the matter,” he assured.
Observers involved in the process included those from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and those from the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS).
Out of the four firms shortlisted for award of the tender; 4G Identity Solution was ranked first quoting Sh3.72 billion, followed by Systems Integrated Limited at Sh3.85 billion, Face Technologies was third quoting Sh4.78 billion while On Track Innovations was ranked fourth quoting a price of Sh8.22 billion.
The tender committee that resigned last week had recommended that third ranked Face Technologies be awarded the tender even after quoting Sh4.78 billion, Sh810.7 million above the commission’s budget.
Hassan said the resignation of the tender committee was totally in defence of their recommendation as they were convinced their decision was right.
Hassan told politicians expressing fears on the process their worries were ‘misplaced’ and assured and that the integrity of the process will be preserved.
“We know we are involved in a political process but we want to assure politicians that this is not a tender for elections. We want to acquire equipment to capture voter data; even if people register twice or the dead are registered we will capture them. This cannot be a process where someone is planning to rig the elections,” he insisted.
The team appointed last Thursday to undertake due diligence on the next lowest evaluated bidder, Systems Integrated Limited, will on Tuesday afternoon report on the time it needs to complete its task.
The IEBC chairman said that the commission is in a battle against time to acquire the voter registration kits but not out of time as yet in line with the timelines ahead of the elections.
“We are racing against time, it’s true but we cannot say that it will affect the elections process. We have kits which were used in the pilot project for 18 constituencies where we conducted electronic voter registration and we only need to upload the software and use it country wide, we have taken into account all factors including the delay in delivery of kits by the new company,” he said.
He intimated that the commission will on Tuesday announce the dates for by-elections in Kajiado North, Ndhiwa and Kangema after writs were issued last Friday.