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Voter fights ballot paper print deal

Wednesday January 9 2013

PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | FILE IEBC officials open a ballot box after the Law Society of Kenya election exercise at Nyeri law court station on February 18, 2012.

PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | FILE IEBC officials open a ballot box after the Law Society of Kenya election exercise at Nyeri law court station on February 18, 2012. A voter has filed a petition opposing a decision to award the tender for the printing of ballot papers to a British company. NATION MEDIA GROUP

By NATION REPORTER

Printing of ballot papers for the March 4 election could be delayed following a petition opposing a decision to award the tender to a British company.

A voter, Mr Jimmy Mutinda, moved to court under a certificate of urgency claiming a Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) decision awarding the contract to Smith and Ouzman Ltd was discriminatory and flouted procurement rules.

Through lawyer Joel Kihanga, Mr Mutinda accused the commission of ignoring other firms that had shown interest in the tender.

“The contract was not clear on the numbers to be printed with or without a presidential run-off, leaving a loophole for the IEBC to pay for unused materials which could be subject to abuse,” he said. (Read: Ballot papers will be ready for poll: IEBC)

More qualified firms

Mr Mutinda said he is a representative of Aerovote Ltd, which also applied for the tender but was not contacted and only heard it had been awarded to another firm.

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He claimed Smith and Ouzman was unable to do the job and had approached printers in Britain and South Africa to sub-contract the work.

“Awarding of the contract took into account irrelevant considerations and failed to recognise that more qualified firms had applied,” he said.

He said the IEBC would not suffer any prejudice if the contract was cancelled as printing had not started because candidates for the various posts have not yet been nominated.

Justice David Majanja certified the application urgent and directed him to serve the IEBC and representatives of Smith and Ouzman for an inter-parties hearing on Friday.