IEBC Holds Crisis Meeting Over Revoked Ballots Tender as NASA Digs in
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will hold a crisis meeting on Monday following cancellation of the Sh2.5 billion ballots tender.
Commission officials will meet for a plenary to deliberate on the effects of the directive by the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board to start the process afresh.
On Friday, the board ordered termination of the process of identifying a supplier for the strategic election materials citing flaws in tender documents.
This comes even as activist Okiya Omtatah vowed to move to court to have the decision by the board quashed to allow the commission proceed with the process.
“Tomorrow, I will get the certified ruling then I will proceed to court to seek orders setting aside the ruling by the review board,” Omtatah said, adding that the Paul Gicheru-led board had failed to incorporate his views even after they enjoined him in the suit.
And yesterday, National Super Alliance (NASA) warned IEBC against what it termed a plan to single source the supply of ballot papers from the Dubai-based Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing, whose initial contract was nullified by the High Court.
“There is a propensity by the commission to award this tender to Al Ghurair but as NASA, we say that in the bare minimum, we shall not participate in elections where the Dubai firm is contracted,” NASA head of secretariat Norman Magaya said.
NASA points out at a directive by the review board to IEBC to immediately re-tender and/or procure afresh the election materials using such a method it may consider appropriate taking into account the time left between now and August 8 and all such other factors as it may consider necessary, as opening room for single sourcing.
“We will comply with the procurement rules that have to be followed. Whoever is saying this contract is tailor-made for a particular firm should shade more light,” IEBC communications manager Andrew Limo said.
The fears that IEBC may award the deal to Al Ghurair is informed by a similar decision last month where the commission picked French firm Safran Morpho in the Sh3.8 billion for supply of the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS), citing time constraints.
A senior member of IEBC told the Sunday Standard that the board had asked them to resort to single sourcing which is the only viable method bearing in mind that it’s just about 78 days to the August 8 polls.
“There is a ‘chicken gate’ like relationship between Al Ghuarir and some senior officials of the commission who are hell bent on frustrating the tender and return favours to one firm,” Magaya added.
IEBC awarded Al Ghurair the tender for supply and delivery for ballot papers, declaration forms and result declaration forms in October last year. One of the firms bidding for the deal moved to the board crying foul and citing irregularities.
However, the board dismissed the application by South Africa’s Pearl Media allowing the commission to sign the contract. The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) which had been enjoined in the case then moved to the High Court to appeal. On the February 13 2017, Justice George Odunga quashed the contract and accused IEBC of failing to comply with the amended election laws of 2016.
On February 14, IEBC through lawyer Anthony Lubulellah, filed an urgent notice of appeal against Justice Odunga’s decision to quash the Sh2.5 billion contract and wrote to the Registrar of High Court to immediately supply them with copies of proceedings to enable them execute the appeal.
“Take notice that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is dissatisfied with the judgement of Justice Odunga and intends to appeal against the whole decision at the Court of Appeal,” said Lubullelah.
However on February 23, IEBC rescinded its intention to appeal and instead resolved to comply with the order and re-advertise.
On March 9, the Court of Appeal declined to suspend Odunga’s ruling pending the determination of the appeal by Al Ghurair with Appellate judges Alnashir Visram, Wanjiru Karanja and Jamilla Mohammed saying doing so would only interfere with the electoral agency’s preparation for the August 8 General Election.
On March 18, the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board asked IEBC to ignore Justice Odunga’s ruling saying the judge overstepped his mandate as the law requires that it is the only body that can order a government entity to re-tender an irregularly issued contract.
IEBC then resorted to kick-start the process through a restricted tendering which was, however, suspended on April 9. Rosecate Promotions and Supplies moved to the board seeking review.
On Friday, the board ordered for the termination of the process of identifying a supplier for the strategic election materials citing flaws in tender documents.
Source : standard
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