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Kenya: Oswago Tells EACC of Bad Blood Between Staff, Supplier


AllAfrica.com

BY DOMINIC WABALA, 15 AUGUST 2013

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chief Executive Officer James Oswago has revealed the “acrimonious” working relationship between the commission’s Director for ICT and representatives of the company that was awarded the tender to supply election equipment.

Oswago’s statement to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission that is probing the pre-election procurement process at IEBC delves into the behind the scenes intrigues that surrounded the delayed procurement of the equipment, the change of specification for the kits and why they failed to perform as expected.

Oswago said this bad blood between the ICT director Dismas Ong’ondi and employees of Face Technologies (Facestec) caused a delay in the delivery of the kits which arrived a month before the election day.

“The director ICT raised most of the issues which had already been answered by Face Technologies. I may add that the relationship between Dismas and Face was sour/antagonistic for some reasons I never understood. The issues he was raising were relevant, but it was his duty to fully engage and provide a solution e.g. the CEO had to get personally engaged in the effort to get Face to deliver the EVID fully configured and load the final BVR Register per polling station at Kasarani, a function which would have been done by the Director himself and I later delegated that to be headed by Shollei/ICT managers,” Oswago said.

The CEO attributed the delay to request by the Directorate of ICT late changes of data without prior notification. “I stated that Face too are frustrated by poor response on critical issues from ICT Directorate and I had seen evidence of it as in the exchange of several emails between Dismas and Face Technologies in which Face lists clear instances of promises made but not fulfilled by ICT, late changes to the data on file without prior notification forcing Face team to redo some work afresh, areas where in correct data was sent to Face Technologies. Finally the Director ICT was never involved at all in the setting up of the EVID data processing centre at Kasarani Sports Complex,” Oswago says in his statement.

The CEO also blamed the failure of the Electronic Voter Identification Devices (EVIDs) during the March 4 2013 election on human error owing to inadequate training of poll clerks.

“The gadgets did not fail- human error resulting from insufficient training caused the problem. I can state that the EVID equipment hand held or laptop worked very well in all cases where charging issue was addressed. Indeed, in elections for CAW conducted in Kuria EAST AND Samburu, three week after the March 4th polls, the EVID worked perfectly well,” Oswago said.

The IEBC CEO said that the delivery of the kits was delay for over 30 days because a complaint had been lodged at the Public Procurement Oversight Authority (PPOA) challenging the award of the tender to Face Technologies while the ICT director constantly faulted any efforts by the South African company as they tried to deliver on time.

Oswago said that he delegated the EVID project to the IEBC Deputy Commissioner Secretary-Support Services Wilson Shollei and was not involved in some of the communication between Face Technology and IEBC.

The IEBC CEO told the investigators in his statement on June 28 2013 at 9:30am that on December 5 2012, he received a memo from Deputy Commission Secretary Support Services Wilson Shollei requesting him to authorize transfer of US $ 16,651,139 (Sh1.4 billion) to the Commission’s Kenya Commercial Bank account No. 1117602532 University way branch to complete the contractual obligation with Face Technology.

“I am aware that on December 05, 2012 the DCS-Support Services, Mr Wilson Shollei wrote a memo to me requesting for authority to transfer funds amounting USD 16,651,139.3 to the Commission account No. 1117602532 at KCB University Way. The Commission was in the process of entering a contract with Face Technologies to supply EVID and the contract required irrevocable letter of credit. Subsequently, I gave the approval on December 05, 2012 partly because I had earlier assigned Shollei responsibility to manage EVID procurement and implementation and partly because I had received verbal briefs from him that the vendor had specifically asked for an LC in the contract. This information was also included in the memo. I can see on the memo produced before me here today, Shollei gave instruction for voucher preparation to the Director manager Finance on 10th December and he has signed for the accounting officer. I am seeing this for the first time,” Oswago said in his statement.

He also denies being aware of the US$ 15 per kit for some rubber protection which is tax exempt yet the other items are taxable.

Kenya: IEBC Tender Team Quits Over Biometric Deal


 

AllAfrica.com

BY MOSOKU GEOFFREY

July 16th, 2012

Uncertainty hangs over the process of awarding the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) solution kits contract after the IEBC tender committee stepped aside last week. The team quit following weeks of squabbles pitting some IEBC commissioners against its secretariat and they have been tussling over which firm is the most suitable to be awarded the tender.

The Praxedes Tororey-led committee handed in their resignation on Friday, only days after CEO James Oswago appeared to reject their second report for the multibillion-shilling tender award. Oswago had written to the Public Procurement and Oversight Authority (PPOA) seeking guidance on the recommendation to award the tender to Face Technologies of South Africa that emerged third in cost evaluation.

Face Tech, which quoted Sh4.63 billion, was ranked third by the commission’s technical evaluation committee behind 4G Identity Solutions of India and Symphony of Kenya with bids of Sh3.76 billion and Sh3.98 billion respectively. The committee also short-listed OnTrack of Israel which was asking for Sh8.31 billion to carry out the contract of supplying IEBC with the electronic voter registration kits.

Earlier the committee had recommended the award to 4G Solutions of India but the report was returned for reassessment when claims cropped up that the firm had been blacklisted in India. A team of eight officers of the technical committee travelled to India in May on a due diligence mission. The technical team reportedly said that 4G had been cleared of the performance queries.

Sources within the commission now say some commissioners are pushing for Face Tech to be given the tender due to its experience having conducted voter registration in South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Lesotho and Sri Lanka. Their argument is that even though 4G was the lowest bidder, it has no experience in voter registration, having only been involved in Identity Card registration in India.

Out of the the 28 firms that bid for the tender, only Face Tech (55m US$), Canadian firm Code (56mUS$), and OnTrack of Israel (99m pounds) had the experience of having registered voters. This is said to have informed the decision to consider Face Tech, which came second in financial evaluation and number one in technical evaluation. OnTrack emerged number one in financial evaluation. However in price quotation, 4G emerged the cheapest.

Procurement expert Dennis Omondi argues that the price of the bidder is not the automatic consideration when awarding a tender but the experience and financial stability of the firm also matter. “If number one or even number two are disqualified for any reason, the Act allows procurement entity to evaluate up to the time they get a contractor who best meets their objectives,” Omondi says.

Omondi argues that the law provides for room in price negotiation before a contract is signed. However, Oswago said the law envisages the lowest bidder be awarded the contract. “You have to look at the law and see what it provides,” Oswago said. He further argued that the tender and evaluation committees are bound by law to work within the budget and available funds for that specific procurement of goods or service.

Section 26 (3) of the Procurement and Public Disposal Act of 2005 states; “All Public Procurement shall be (a) within the approved budget of the procuring entity and shall be planned by the procuring entity concerned through an annual procurement plan.” Oswago told the Star that “IEBC wrote to Treasury and sought Sh3.4 billion which we were provided with as it was within our annual plan and therefore I don’t think the tender committee will work outside this amount. I will defend my officers with my life if their report is within the law”.

The current stalemate is threatening to derail the process ad return the country back to the manual registers that the Johann Krieglar Report condemned for being responsible for the 2007 general election debacle. The IEBC has announced that it will begin a new voter registration exercise next month, and it is not clear which system will be used. Some 19 million eligible voters will be targeted. Yesterday, Oswago said he has not received the tender committee’s resignation letter, and the process will not be affected by the move. “I want to assure Kenyans that come 3rd or 4th of December, the county will have a new voters register using BVR.”

In 2010, Code Inc of Canada was awarded the tender for a pilot project in eight constituencies across the country and although Code was among the 28 initial firms and tendered for 55m US$ (Sh4.6b), it was knocked out by the technical committee.

 

Senegal: Contested Presidential Polls and Contract Risks If the Opposition Wins


AllAfrica.com

BY EXCLUSIVE ANALYSIS

January 27, 2012 27

ANALYSIS

On 26 February, presidential elections are due in which President Abdoulaye Wade will run for a third term, if the Constitutional Court rules Wade’s candidacy is legal, which is likely.

Wade will be able to mobilise rural support, but he is unlikely to win the endorsement of all the influential Sufi brotherhoods. He also faces growing unpopularity, particularly amongst youths and in urban areas, due to the rising cost of living and economic mismanagement. The elections are likely to go to a run-off, increasing chances of an opposition win. This would heighten contract risks in important sectors for foreign investors like construction, transport and tourism.

Divisions within the opposition and the lack of a nationwide base for most of the candidates will limit their chances of a win in the first round. However, the growing importance of the urban vote and a very likely rallying behind the leading opposition candidate after the first round – expected to be Moustapha Niasse, Macky Sall, Idrissa Seck or Tanor Diang – would increase their chances in the second round.

Popular singer Youssou N’dour, who announced his candidacy on 2 January, is unlikely to win political support among the elite but is popular amongst the youth, making him a possible kingmaker for the opposition in the second round.

An opposition victory would increase risks of corruption investigations and contract cancellations targeting major infrastructure contracts pursued by Wade and his son, powerful Transport and Infrastructure Minister Karim Wade. These include the new airport in Dakar or Dubai Ports World‘s contract for Dakar Port’s development.

Tourist resorts owned by consortiums in which Karim Wade is involved would also be at risk. Revisions would be likely to contracts recently signed by the Wade government, including the awarding of two oil exploration licences to African Petroleum in late November 2011. While contract and regulatory risks would be lower under another Wade term, he would most likely promote populist policies like increasing subsidies and revising contracts in the ailing power sector.

Protest risks will be high during these closely-contested elections, especially in the event of voting fraud allegations, further arrests of opposition leaders and Wade’s re-election. Risks will be highest in Dakar, Thies, Thivaouane and Kaolack.

Protests could escalate into riots, which would pose high risks of damage to government buildings, public transport and public utilities assets. Fighting between opposition and ruling party supporters will also pose moderate risks to individuals. On 22 December, a Wade supporter was shot dead in fighting between youths outside the Mermoz-Sacre Coeur city council.

Exclusive Analysis is a specialist intelligence company that forecasts commercially relevant political and violent risks worldwide.

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