Deal is signed, but voter kits will still be late
Posted Thursday, October 25 2012 at 22:30
Developments in past four months
- July 30: IEBC cancels BVR tender, government takes over.
- August 6: Government to procure BVR kit in a deal with Canada
- August 15: Government starts talks with Canada over a Sh4.6 billion loan to buy kits
- October 18: First batch of 196 BVR kits
- October 24: Commercial agreement for the BVR kits is signed.
The cost of biometric voter registration kits on Thursday hit the Sh7 billion (Euros 65 million), with indications that the government’s contract with the Canadian firm could lead to payment of more money
Even as the agreement was being signed it appeared that the kits might not be delivered before the November 5 deadlines given by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). Read (Polls will be on time, say Raila and Githae)
IEBC chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan, who was present at the signing ceremony, warned that the electoral agency will resort to manual voter registration if the kits are not flown to Nairobi on time.
“If we do not get the equipment on time, then we will resort to a Plan B. We will update the already existing 12.5 million voter register and enroll new ones manually for the March 4 elections,” he said.
He warned Safran Morpho, the French company given the contract, not to behave as if it will never seek any future business engagement with Kenya.
The long saga over the acquisition of the kits also assumed new dimensions, with the Kenya footing the bill of acquiring the kits and accessories after a promise of Canadian funding failed to materialise.
Finance minister Njeru Githae, however, quickly clarified that the government expenses will be recouped once the Canadian loan has been fully approved and released.
There were intrigues to the delayed deal with revelations that the Canadian loan was not interest free as touted but will attract an annual interest of 5.12 per cent.
“Today marks the occasion of the government signing a loan facility agreement with Standard Chartered Bank, London for a loan of Euro 65 million for the procurement of BVR kits for the General Election scheduled for March 4, 2012,” Mr Githae said.
The agreement signed by the government, the Canadian Commercial Corporation and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had placed the loan requested at Sh6.2 million (Euros 56 million).
However Mr Githae said that cost had risen to Sh7.2 billion (Euros 65 million) without giving any explanations for the higher price.
When IEBC advertised the BVR tender earlier this year, the cost was placed at Sh3.9 billion.
Questions on why Kenya went borrowing if it had sufficient cash to undertake the procurement were also raised amidst concerns that Treasury agreed to commit 85 percent of public funds to the supplier even before the delivery of the kits despite a possible risk of inspection queries on the products.
According to the contract, the government paid Sh2.4 billion as down payment after the deal was signed.
It was required to pay Sh2.8 billion (45 per cent) as a second payment of delivery of the kits and a further Sh312 million when the server is delivered.
The remaining Sh624 million was to be paid after the IEBC had concluded voter registration and generated a voter’s register.