IEBC awards Greek company tender to print ballot papers

Ballot boxes during the general election 2017. [Bonface Okendo, Standard]

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has awarded a multi-million-shilling tender for the supply and delivery of ballot papers and register of voters to a Greek firm, Inform P Lykos S A Holdings.

The tender would also include statutory election result declaration forms to be used at the polling station.

The tender was advertised on July 14 and opened on October 7.

Inform P Lykos Holdings beat 11 other companies to win a three-year open international tender that will see it also provide election and referendum result declaration forms to be used at the constituency, county and national tallying centre.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said the tender has been awarded and letters sent to the concerned parties.

“The process is still within the 14 days’ standstill period. Therefore, the commission will only be able to authoritatively comment about the contracted firm once the procurement process has been concluded,” Mr Chebukati said.

The submission date for the IEBC/OIT/002/21/2021/2022 was on August 13. Inform P Lykos S A Holdings located in Koropi, Greece, is part of the Management of Companies and Enterprises Industry and generates $82.52 million (Sh9 billion in sales.

There are 17 companies under Inform P Lykos Holdings S A Holdings corporate family. The firm, through its subsidiaries, provides information management and processing services and products in paper and digital documents.

Inform P Lykos Holdings also offers digital transformation, digital and security printing, enterprise communication management, and distribution solutions.

The company beat three others from the United Arabs Emirates, Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing LLC, United Printing and Publishing LLC and Masar Printing and Publishing and Kenya’s Ellams Products Limited and Africa Infrastructure Development Company.

Others are United Kingdom’s Go Inspire Solutions and TALL Security Print Limited, UNIPINT, a division of Insidedata (South) PTY LTD, Aerovote Security Print and Electoral Supplies (Ghana), Seshaasai Business Forms PVT Ltd (India) and Kwanginsa Company Ltd (South Korea).

The tender will replace a two-year contract entered between the commission in 2019 with De La Rue Kenya and EPZ Ltd that included the printing of 20 million ballot papers at Sh397.4 million. The deal saw the Kenyan firm supply ballot papers that have been used in the by-elections across the country since September 2019.

For the De La Rue Kenya and EPZ Ltd tender No. IEBC/DP/02/2019-2021 entered on September 20, 2019, included the printing of 20 million ballot papers which many believed were meant for the referendum had the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) sailed through.

In an earlier interview the electoral body, IEBC chairman, said unlike in the past where they were printing excess ballot papers for the General Election, they will now target the exact number of registered voters.

“We have gathered through previous elections that no polling station has ever had a 100 per cent turn out in the General Election, we, therefore, agreed that we will only print the exact number of voters that will be registered by the commission,” said Mr Chebukati.

He said this informed the decision to have the management of the voter register handled by an international firm. “Once they have the register, they will know how many ballot papers to print in which polling station,” said Chebukati.

The electoral agency is targeting to have 25 million voters participate in next year’s General Election that includes a possible six million new voters targeted in the ongoing mass voter registration.

Last month, the polls agency was jostled when Public Procurement Administration and Review Board (PPARB) nullified and set aside a multi-million tender for the supply, delivery and Maintenance of the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (KIEMS) for the 2022 General Election.

Together with the printing of ballot papers, the tender for supply, delivery, installation, testing, commissioning, support and maintenance of KIEMS and hardware equipment and accessories which the board declared illegally awarded are a critical component of the electoral agency.

In their ruling, PPARB the electoral commission to prepare a fresh tender document within 30 days.

“The procuring entity is hereby directed to prepare a fresh tender document within 30 days from the date of this decision, taking into consideration the provisions of the Constitution of Kenya, the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, the Public Procurement and Disposal and Asset Disposal Regulations, 2020 and the findings of the Board in this review,” read the ruling in part.

Early in the year, IEBC advertised for the Tender No: IEBC/OIT/001/21/2020/2021 and put May 14 as the deadline which would later be extended to June 18, following the issuance of three addendums to the tender document.

When the tender was opened on June 18, five companies including Indra Soluciones Tecnologias De La Informacion, Smartmatic International Holding B.V, Genkey Solutions BV, Laxton Group Ltd and Africa Infrastructure Development Company submitted bids.

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In lodging for Review No. 107 of 2021 the applicant, Risk Africa Innovatis Ltd claimed that the tender document did not provide for preference margins in favour of local and or citizen contractors as contemplated by the Constitution of Kenya and the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015.

The firm also noted that the tender document does not require foreign tenderers participating in the subject tender to source at least forty per cent of their supplies from citizen contractors before submitting a tender.

Risk Africa Innovatis Ltd through its shareholder and director Henry Mien prayed that the PPRAB order cancellation and annulment the Tender Document and all procurement proceedings in respect of the entire Tender No. IEBC/OIT/001/21/2020/2021 dated April 14, 2021.

The firm also sought to have the board compel IEBC to withdraw the entire and re-advertise the same via a fresh tender document that complies with the law in preference and reservations set out in the Constitution and the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act in explicit terms.

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