A Cabinet committee is expected to approve a Sh4.6 billion soft loan deal from Canada to buy electronic voter registration equipment.
However, a parliamentary committee overseeing the implementation of the Constitution prefers the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to award the tender to a Canadian company which lost the Sh3.9 billion tender.
Government officials led by acting Civil Service boss Francis Kimemia and a IEBC team headed by chief executive James Oswago who have been meeting for the last two days on Wednesday agreed on the terms that the firm that gets the tender should meet. (READ: Government steps in to buy IEBC voter kit)
Sources close to the meeting said it was agreed that the company, which the Canadian government will pick, must have experience in biometric voter registration, have the financial capacity to supply and service the equipment and be free of any baggage.
The company, it was agreed, must have the capacity to train registration clerks who are expected to work extra hours to register the 18 million voters targeted in the next elections.
Government spokesman Alfred Mutua said the government was determined to award the tender in time for the start of voter registration.
“For two days, the technical team has been evaluating the specifications based on the Kenyan experience because our situation is unique. It is on this basis that the cost of the tender will be determined before the soft loan issue comes up,” he said.
“The specifications will be taken to the Cabinet for approval before any other step can be taken,” Dr Mutua said.
Even though they have declined to comment, it is understood the Canadians offered Kenya a soft loan of Sh4.6 billion ($55 million) to finance the tender.
In what might raise eyebrows, it has emerged that the government side is pushing for the tender to be awarded to Code Inc Ltd, a Canadian firm which some reports say is undergoing liquidation.
The Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC), which later met the IEBC delegation, is also understood to be rooting for Code Inc.
Perhaps aware that it may not single-handedly execute the tender, Code Inc has formed a consortium with Face Technology of South Africa, which had the third lowest bid before IEBC cancelled the tender on July 23.
Cross Match Technologies, another Canadian company also being mentioned as one of the contenders, has teamed up with Smartmatic of the UK and Dermalog of Germany in another consortium.