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Ballot papers will be ready for poll: IEBC

Monday January 7 2013

PHOTO | STEPHEN MUNDIARI Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Issack Hassan.

PHOTO | STEPHEN MUNDIARI Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Issack Hassan. NATION MEDIA GROUP

By PETER LEFTIE [email protected]

Ballot papers and materials required in the March 4 General Election will be ready before the poll, the electoral commission boss has said. (Read: Poll plans on course, says IEBC boss)

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Issack Hassan told the Nation last Friday that the UK firm hired to print ballot papers had properly sub-contracted two other companies.

This follows allegations by one of the losing bidders, Aero Vote Ltd also of the UK, that the firm contracted to provide the ballot papers, Smith & Ouzman, lacked the capacity to complete the task before the election date.

Mr Hassan explained that “in the award of the tender, Smith & Ouzman made it very clear that within three weeks, when printing, packaging and shipping will be taking place, they were going to have two strategic partners.”

IEBC has come under criticism for single-sourcing the contract.

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Aero Vote questioned the capacity of Smith & Ouzman to supply the ballot papers with its managing director Chirag Sheth saying no company in the world had the capacity to single-handedly prepare, print and supply such a huge number of ballot papers and results sheets in less than two months.

In a protest letter to the Public Procurement Oversight Authority (PPOA) and copied to the government, Mr Sheth warned that if the work was sub-contracted, IEBC would not have control thereby introducing a security risk due to the numerous actors involved or face challenges similar to those faced in the Ghana elections last year.

In reply to the PPOA, Mr Hassan stated that IEBC had confirmed Smith & Ouzman’s capacity to undertake the work in time.

The firm will receive Sh3 billion for the printing and supply of an estimated 120 million ballot papers.

Mr Hassan also pointed out that Aero Vote was complaining about sub-contracting, yet it had written to Smith and Ouzman asking to be given some of the work.