IEBC keeps mum on multi-billion tender row
ttempts to break a gridlock over a multi-billion tender for the supply of a Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits went on into late in the night on Wednesday without word from top commission officials.
A new tender team appointed by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and chaired by Ms Immaculate Kassait met the Evaluation committee chaired by Ms Decima Myayi on Wednesday.
They gave a briefing on the controversial evaluation which had settled on 4G Identity solutions.
The new tender team also scrutinised reports compiled by the Evaluation Commitee, the Due Diligence Committee ,the former tender committee and another report from the United Nations Development Programme which is also co-funding the project.
The IEBC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr James Oswago who spoke to the Nation Wednesday night expressed hope that the tender hitch would be addressed in time.
“We expect to have the matter concluded satisfactorily and within the law so that the award certificate can be issued to the winning bidder,”Oswago said.
Mr Oswago had declined to sign a report by the previous tender committee citing technical issues and dozens of irregularities that forced the committee to resign.
The electoral body is seeking to procure 9,700 biometric kits for the electronic registration of 18 million voters scheduled to start next month.
Sources in the new tender committee revealed on Wednesday night that a fresh split has began to emerge within the new committee after some of its members suggested that the four leading bidders be evaluated afresh.
“Issues emerged again after some of us suggested that we review the evaluation score card taking into considerations the average of financial, technical and integrity strengths of each of the leading companies but some felt that is outside the scope of our mandate,” said a source.
The race for the Sh 3.9 billion tender has narrowed down to four companies, namely 4G Identity Solutions from India quoting Sh 3.7 billion (US$44,986,500), Symphony from Kenya quoting Sh 3.9 million (US$ 47,547,37), Face Technologies Limited from South Africa Sh 4.5 million (US$ 55,322,301) and Ontrack Innovations from Israel which quoted Sh 8.2 billion (US$ 99,441,623).
Controversy has dogged the exercise following complaints that some IEBC Commissioners have differed with secretariat officials over which company to entrust with the highly sensitive tender.
Complaints have been logged at the Public Procurement Oversight Authority (PPOA) by some bidders claiming the exercise has been dogged by controversies.
Dr Shailesh Patel the Managing Director of Africa Infrustructure Development Company that quoted Sh 1.4 billion (US$ 17,062,500) wrote to PPOA Director General Mr Maurice Juma in March raising concerns over the pre bidding anomalies.
“Yes I wrote to PPOA to intervene on some of the issues which were not very clear. We feared that this exercise was being undermined by forces not interested in a clean exercise,” Dr Patel said.
Vice President of Code Incorporated Mr Gordon Sinclair whose company participated in the pre-referendum BVR pilot project in which 1.5 million voters were registered in 18 constituencies warned that the project could land into trouble as time constraints could undermine its success.
“It may take up to six weeks to deliver the kits. The software must be customised to IEBC specification something one would do only after signing the contract,” said Sinclair.
The IEBC chairman Mr Ahmed Issack Hassan was unavailable for comment as his phone went un answered.