IDEMIA, the French IT firm that was controversially awarded Sh6.8 billion to supply Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS) kits in the 2017 General Election risks being barred from doing business in the country if a proposal by Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma passes.
Mr Kaluma wants the special report by the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the accounts of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) amended to have the firm held accountable for irregular payments it received.
“The company known as IDEMIA be investigated for contravening and continued violation of the mandatory provisions of the Companies Act by purporting to do business with IEBC before being registered in Kenya and be barred from participating, award or entering into any kind of procurement payable using public money for 10 years,” Mr Kaluma proposes.
In its findings, the committee found the firm to have acted in the country illegally.
However, the team’s findings and observations varied with their recommendations as it went on to sanction the IEBC commissioners.
“My proposal is to harmonize the committee findings and its observations,” Mr Kaluma said.
Curiously IDEMIA has changed names thrice during the period it has had lucrative deals in the country for the last five years.
In 2013, the firm supplied the multi-billion biometric voter registration (BVR) kits under Safran Morpho before changing to OT-Morpho in the 2017 elections.
Should the National Assembly adopt the proposal on Wednesday, it will be a serious indictment on the company that has been contracted by the government in the Sh3 billion provision of National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS), which was launched on Tuesday in Machakos by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Similar exercises were replicated in other parts of the country by Cabinet Secretaries and opposition leaders Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula.
The NIIMS project is about establishing ‘Huduma Namba’, a unique identifier for all Kenyans and foreigners residing the country.
Mr Kaluma also wants the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to investigate IDEMIA and for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to institute appropriate criminal action under section 974 (3) of the Companies Act.
The section provides that a foreign company shall not do business in the country before it is registered as a foreign firm by the Registrar of Companies and that the local shareholding must be at least 30 percent.
Company law further provides that a foreign firm should have at least a representative in the country.
Further, Mr Kaluma wants all the contracts entered into between the company and IEBC investigated and nullified for contravening the law.
He also wants the IEBC to take immediate action to recover all the monies unlawfully paid to the company.
During the probe, the management of IDEMIA admitted that the firm did not have a local representative after the committee served the head office in France.