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IEBC defends ballot papers tender

By Paul Ogemba | Published Fri, May 19th 2017 at 00:00, Updated May 18th 2017 at 23:05 GMT +3
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati. 

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Thursday put up a spirited fight to save a tender for procuring ballot papers.

Through lawyer Kamau Karori, the IEBC told the Public Procurement Oversight Authority (PPOA) that it was justified to go for restricted tendering for the supply of ballot papers and election declaration results forms in line with a court order that nullified the previous contract. 

"It was critical that the tender process for the key election materials be concluded before May 28, when the commission would have received the full names of all candidates to allow time to design their symbols on the ballot papers," said Karori.

The commission accused Rosecate Promotions and Supplies Limited of seeking to derail the election timelines by filing the case at the PPOA although it was not among the companies that had submitted their application for the tender.

No jurisdiction

According to the lawyer, the tribunal had no jurisdiction to determine the choice of procurement method chosen by IEBC but only the outcome.

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But the company maintained that the tender process was fraudulent and done in secrecy without public participation to scrutinise the documents.

"IEBC has conceded that it is an important tender which is key to preparations for the August polls. However, the way it is conducting the process is suspicious and does not reflect the seriousness it deserves," said the company's general manager, Elias Mugo.

He argued that IEBC should have stuck to the original status of an open tender.

Mr Mugo pleaded with the PPOA to cancel the process and order the IEBC to start afresh, in accordance with the provisions of open tendering.

But the commission wants the application dismissed to give it time to prepare. It added that cancelling the tender now would cause a delay in the printing of ballot papers.