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Kenyan government makes $104 million procurement from disadvantaged groups


spyghana.com

May 31, 2015

The Kenyan government has procured 104 million U.S. dollars worth of goods and services from women, youth and the disabled in the current financial year, said a senior official on Friday.

Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury, Henry Rotich, told a procurement forum in the capital Nairobi that “this is a direct result of the government’s Preference and Reservation Scheme.”
“However, this only represents three percent of the total available (procurement) opportunities,” Rotich said during the National Public and Disposal Consultative Forum.
“It is expected that more disadvantaged people will access government procurement due to the enhanced capacity building efforts of the public entities,” the official said.
The public procurement and disposal law came into force in 2013, providing a preference for women, youth and the disabled as it set aside 30 percent of the total government procurement to “disadvantaged groups.”
Rotich urged the “marginalized groups” to take full advantage of the policy and participate competitively in public procurement opportunities.
“The optimum public procurement systems are central to the effectiveness of the development and recurrent budgets of any country,” she said, adding that the public procurement could be used to achieve targeted social economic goals.
Deputy Country Director with the United Nations Women Kenya, Karin Fueg, said her organization has worked with Kenya to promote participation of “disadvantaged groups” in the procurement market.
Fueg said Kenya’s decision to provide preference to disadvantaged group, such as women, represents an unique opportunity for small and medium enterprises to benefit from the government supply chain.
She added that while Kenya has made progress in providing access to “marginalized groups”, the uptake still remains low.
“This calls for concerted actions and effective strategies that will increase the participation of women enterprises in the preference scheme,” she said. Enditem

-Xinhua

Kenyan government to investigate corruption allegations over new procurement policy


SupplyManagement

November 24, 2013

By Will Green

The Kenyan government has launched an investigation into allegations of corruption surrounding the implementation of a new procurement policy targeting disadvantaged groups.

Under a presidential directive, 30 per cent of government tenders will go to the young, women and the disabled, who need to sign up to a register administered by the National Treasury.

In a statement, the National Treasury has responded to allegations that officials have taken money as part of the registration process.

The statement said: “We would like to assure the general public that the registration and certification undertaken by the National Treasury is offered free of any charge whatsoever. Anyone purporting to extort money from the public will be dealt with in accordance with the law.

“Although we are confident that the exercise is being done openly and transparently we have initiated investigations and are monitoring the process keenly to ensure that our confidence in the process is well founded.”

Kenya Set To Resort To Online To Fight Graft


coastweek.com

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) — Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Wednesday he will set up a website in an effort to fight corruption which has retarded development in the East African Nation.

Kenyatta, who officially launched the 30 percent affirmative action of government procurement for women, youth and persons with disability in Nairobi, said the website will enable the public to report government officials who engage in graft, so that appropriate action would be taken against them.

The president warned public officials that his government will not tolerate graft, saying the days of corrupt officials in service are numbered and called for joint efforts to wipe out the vice.

“We have reached a point where if you want to keep your government job, you must be satisfied with the salary you are paid. If you think it is not enough, you are free to quit and look for other forms of employment,” he warned.

The warning came as the authorities took war against graft a notch higher in the most credible attempt so far to showcase Kenyatta’s acumen as a reform-minded African leader serving his first term in office.

The president also warned the Public Procurement Directorate to seal all loopholes that would allow corruption to compromise the procurement process, saying no laxity on their part will be tolerated.

He said he would closely monitor the allocation of the 30 percent government procurement to see exactly how many women, youths and persons with disability benefit.

 “For far too long we have characterized our women as people who are dependent. I want them to be people who we can depend on. Our youth were viewed as people who lacked vision and direction, I want to make them the engine that drives Kenya,” he said.

The president said if the 30 percent procurement allocation to the youth, women and persons with disability was replicated in all 47 counties and in the private sector, poverty would significantly reduce in the country.

Does the procurement profession in Africa have the right profile to capitalise on the region’s economic growth?


SupplyManagement

8 August 2013 | Andrew Allen

Sub-saharan Africa has become one of the world’s great economic success stories. It is the second-fastest growing region in the world after Asia and, according to the International Monetary Fund, it will see growth of more than 5 per cent this year, compared with 3 per cent worldwide.

But is procurement missing the party? Academic Douglas Boateng indicates this may be the case when in a recent presentation he described the function as undervalued and under-rewarded across the region.

Professor Boateng, of UNISA Graduate School of Business Leadership in South Africa and CEO of consultancy PanAvest International, says government and industry increasingly accept the need to bring procurement into the strategic decision-making chamber. But, he adds: “The pontifications have unfortunately not really been matched by real corrective structural adjustments.”

In his view, procurement professionals receive less recognition as well as worse remuneration than counterparts in other business functions. These factors make it hard to attract talent. Lower pay also raises the risk individuals will act unethically.

The solution? Boateng calls on industry leaders and government policy makers to take “decisive steps” to “ensure respectable recognition for the ethically and performance-driven procurement and supply chain management professional”.

The remarks will strike a familiar chord for many procurement professionals in Africa. Chabeli Ramakatane, CEO of Bareki Consulting, South Africa, tells SM: “There is progress, however, it is not at the pace we expect. The highest-paid procurement person here is poorly remunerated compared to the highest-paid finance or marketing person.

“There is definitely a leadership vacuum. Even where you find capable leaders they might not be empowered to do what is necessary.”

At the heart of the problem is organisations’ reluctance to appoint a CPO who reports directly to the CEO and who has a strategic remit. Instead procurement tends to be located further down in the structural hierarchy led by a purchasing manager. “Fewer than 20 per cent of companies or large public sector organisations have CPOs,” says Ramakatane.

Naomi Kinyanjui, civil projects operations manager at Ardan Risk and Support, Kenya, agrees the function has typically been pigeonholed as a back office transactional role. “With regards to it being under-rewarded, that has been true to a large extent,” she says. But she believes that private sector organisations are increasingly beginning to pay their purchasing staff a fair market rate as they realise procurement can add value to their businesses.

Phillip Dahwa, managing partner, The Global Procurement And Supply Chain Management Practice, Zimbabwe, believes that if procurement is undervalued, this is precisely because the function has not yet earned its stripes. “The calibre of most procurement professionals is questionable in most instances,” he says.

While the professionals have technical skills they tend to lack business acumen, softer skills and leadership competencies. This, in turn, has denied them the chance to shine at the highest levels of their organisations, he believes. “The challenge is now for the professionals themselves to prove that they can add value rather than just purporting to be undervalued,” he says.

Skills shortages pose a problem for procurement everywhere, but Tom Woodham, director of Crimson & Co consulting, which works with many multinational clients in Africa, believes the talent pool in Africa is particularly small. Not only are there fewer business graduates in the region but procurement, like most business functions, is lagging behind many other regions in maturity “by about 20 years”. Nevertheless, Woodham does not consider buyers – at least in many of the larger multinationals – to be more poorly paid than colleagues in other business functions. In Africa the lack of prestige attached to procurement rather than lack of pay is the most serious obstacle to attracting the best talent, he believes.

“FMCGs and multinationals really struggle to find people to bring in both in terms of previous experience and of people with an interest in procurement.

“These companies spend an awful lot of money training people and they find they have to start from a lower base than they would in Europe or elsewhere,” he says.

Ulrike Kussing, at PwC in South Africa, believes companies are increasingly seeing the value in supply chain management. “Now there is more of a focus on looking at things end to end. The stance has shifted from the past where it was viewed more as a logistics function,” she says.

Nevertheless Kussing says that while supply chain managers can rely on modern technology and increasingly good infrastructure, problems such as facilitation fees and unreliable delivery times present a major challenge for supply chain professionals.

She is not alone in seeing significant grounds for optimism in the region.

Woodham says: “A lot of multinationals out there are changing their focus. Previously they would have brought in expats to fill vacancies. Now they are training and developing local people.”

For Ramakatane there is one factor that will guarantee procurement’s rise up the corporate ladder in Africa – that organisations will sooner or later come to realise the significant cost savings that can be achieved by implementing a strategic sourcing model.

“We expect organisations in both private and public sector to realise that the only place left to achieve savings or to improve the bottom line is in procurement,” he says.

Does low pay cause corruption?

“Most procurement professionals are not bold enough to stand up against fraud and corruption,” says Phillip Dahwa. “They facilitate corruption in an attempt to win the hearts of their bosses.”

It is a controversial viewpoint but one that African procurement professionals will understand.

Chabeli Ramakatane says the lack of visible punishment for buyers caught accepting bribes is a major incentive for fraudsters. He believes low pay bears some responsibility for the prevalence of bribery, as well as unmanaged conflicts of interest, inadequate screening of suppliers and just plain greed.

Naomi Kinyanjui says it is inevitable that low pay leads to increased temptation to engage in corruption.

However for Ian McNally, vice president of Efficio, it is not always clear where cases of ‘supplier loyalty’ within companies are due to corruption or rather “loyalty to a supply base that has delivered service and where the relationships are strong and long lived”.

“What we have seen is that in most cases, a clear, open, transparent, fact-based approach works with stakeholders in the same way as it works in a European or North American context,” he says.

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: Youths, Women, PWDs to Benefit From New Procurement Rules


AllAfrica.com

By Capt. (RTD) Collins Wanderi

OPINION

On 18th June 2013 the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury published the Public Procurement (Preference & Reservations) (Amendment) Regulations 2013.

The objective of these regulations is to accord the youth and other disadvantaged groups in Kenya preference in the supply of goods and services to the government. This is in line with one of the key promises of the Jubilee government to give the youth, persons with disability (PWDS) and women at least 30 percent of all supply contracts to the government.

The significance of these regulations is that the National Treasury and all the Treasuries in the 47 county governments shall be required to register and maintain a database for all Small or Micro-Enterprises (SME) or disadvantaged groups that wish to participate in public procurement.

The regulations also seek to favour local businesses by granting exclusive preference to local contractors who supply motor vehicles, electrical goods, furniture and other items which are fully assembled or manufactured in Kenya. Road works and electrical installations of below Sh1 billion, other public works of below Sh500 million and supply of goods and services of below Sh100 million and Sh50 million respectively are now exclusively reserved for Kenyans.

When these regulations come into effect the government and all its agencies will inevitably become the largest promoters of the motto, “buy Kenyan, build Kenya”.

The regulations also make it possible for procuring entities to divide supplies in lots of goods, works and services into practicable quantities which the youth, SMEs and other disadvantaged groups can afford. A new Regulation 31 enjoins the National, County governments and other agencies of government to allocate at least 30 percent of their procurement to the youth, SMEs and other disadvantaged groups.

To enhance compliance with this regulation these procuring entities will now be required to make budgets, issue tender notices and award contracts with at least 30pc participation by the youth, SMEs and other disadvantaged groups. They will also be required to submit quarterly reports to the Public Procurement Oversight Authority for compliance audits.

To participate in the new preferred and reserved public procurement scheme, the youth, women, persons with disability, SMEs and other disadvantaged groups are required to register their enterprises with the relevant government body e.g Registrar of Companies, Business Names, CBOs, NGOs etc.

The membership of such registered bodies may have 30 percent members at most who are not youth, women or PWD but their leadership must be 100 percent youth, women or PWD. Procuring entities will be required to pay for supplies made under this scheme within 30 days. A delay beyond 30 days requires the entity to make 50 percent part-payment and explain the delay in writing.

Regulation 33 which deals with financing is of great importance. While young people often have the benefit of fresh ideas, energy and vigour they are seriously deprived while in competition with older people who have the advantage of time, experience and money. Procuring entities will be required to authenticate Tender Awards and Local Purchase or Service Orders (LPOs & LSOs) and enter into agreements with relevant financing institutions with an undertaking that the contracted enterprise will be paid through the account opened with the financier.

Banks, Deposit Taking Microfinance Institutions (DTMs) and other lenders licensed by the Central Bank of Kenya must also come up with very innovative ways to help the government, the youth, PWDs, Women and other disadvantaged groups achieve the objectives of the new regulations.

The youth, women and PWDs need these contracts but on the other hand government agencies require assurance that the contracted enterprises will perform their part of the bargain and with the requisite skill and expertise. One method to ensure satisfaction of reserved and preferred public procurement contracts may be through the doctrine of cession which is widely used in South Africa.

The law has created a new spectrum of proprietary rights for the youth, PWDs & women by dint of their status in society. These rights are exclusive, reserved and can be quantified in economic and monetary value once a procuring entity has authenticated a tender award and issued an LPO or LSO.

Once an enterprise owned by the youth, PWDs or women gets a contract to perform certain obligations for the procuring entity, such an enterprise acquires a right of claim for payment in anticipation by virtue of regulation 33. Consequently in terms of the doctrine of cession in anticipado, the future right to claim payment may be ceded. This way the youth, PWDs and Women owned enterprises (cedent) would retain ownership of the contractual rights but only surrender to a limited degree the ability to enforce those rights.

An agreement to cede would be in writing and a formal document known as the Instrument of Cession will have to be executed. A cession as opposed to delegation or sub-contracting would be the best method to facilitate access to finance and specialist expertise by the youth, women and PWDs who want to benefit from the preferred and reserved public procurement under the new regulations.

Wanderi is the chairman-Kenya Institute of Forensic Auditors (KeIFA)

Chinese maze: Uganda’s procurement mess threatens East African rail project


Africa Review

By Michael Wakabi

July 13, 2013

As Presidents of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda prepare to meet in Nairobi next month for a review of progress on resolutions they made in Entebbe late June, concern is emerging over recent developments in Kampala that threaten to derail East Africa’s grand rail project.

Just weeks to the meeting, Kampala is scrambling to work its way out of a maze of Chinese construction firms, all fighting for the lucrative tender to build a new railway network extending to the border with South Sudan and a new port on Lake Victoria.

During the two-day meeting between the presidents that ended on June 25, the three countries parcelled out roles to fast-track the development of key infrastructure projects.

Uganda was assigned the lead role in rail sector development and political federation while Kenya will champion the pipeline development and electricity sectors, and Rwanda the Customs, single tourist visa and EAC e-Identity card projects.

But implementation of the rail development could run into early trouble as the procurement process gets caught up in a maze of Chinese firms and their lobbyists.

At the centre of the bitter fight are four companies – China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation, China Harbour and Engineering Company, China Communications Construction Company, and China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEL), who have signed memoranda with different arms of government.

The situation not only exposes Uganda to litigation, but could also result in a messy contest that could delay the project’s implementation.

One part of the story is that President Museveni, who wants the Uganda People’s Defence Forces to participate as a way of building capacity and lowering the construction costs of similar projects in future, made an offer to two different Chinese firms. It has also emerged that two of the contenders are actually different subsidiaries of the same mother company.

On February 17, 2004, President Museveni held a meeting with the chairman of China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC) in Kampala, during which they discussed the firm’s participation in the development of a regional railway network. A follow-up meeting was held between the company and then Minister for Works and Transport John Nasasira in October 2006.

In between, the scope of the project changed to include development of a modern railway network to replace the Kampala-Malaba-Tororo-Pakwach line as well as an extension to Nimule on the border with South Sudan.

Engineering brigade

Four years later, in October 2010, in a letter to the chairman of CCECC, President Museveni said he had directed his Works Minister and the Chief of Defence to work with the company “on modalities aimed at forging a working relationship that is aimed at paving a way for developing and implementing this massive infrastructure project.”

In December 2011, CCECC entered into an MoU with the governments of Uganda and Tanzania for the development of a new port at Mwambani, Tanga, a port at Musoma, supply of marine vessels to ply the route between Musoma and Kampala, construction of a new port at Bukasa in Kampala, and upgrading and extension of the railway line from Tanga to Arusha through to Musoma.

Omari Rashid Nundu, the Minister for Transport, then signed for Tanzania while Dr Stephen Chebrot, the Junior Minister for Transport, signed for Uganda.

A month later, in January 2012, Uganda entered into a separate MoU with CCECC under which the Ministry of Works committed to engage the Chinese firm as a sole contractor for upgrading the rail line between Kampala and Malaba.

In a surprise turn of events, however, Abraham Byandala, the Senior Minister for Works and Transport, also signed a separate MoU for the same project with another Chinese company, the China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) in March 2012.

The situation was compounded further when President Museveni wrote to Mr Byandala in September 2012, to assign the project to China Harbour and Engineering Company Ltd (CHECL), which had been introduced to him by US lobbyist Rosa Whittaker.

In that letter, the president accused unnamed officials in his government of infiltrating his meetings with CHECL, stealing minutes and selling its ideas to CCCC, the firm Mr Byandala had signed the MoU with.

Just as he had proposed in his October 2010 letter to CECC, the president directed that the firm Ms Whittaker was fronting for should work with the UPDF engineering brigade.

While President Museveni could have confused the new firm with CCECC, his latest instructions set the stage for a series of activities, culminating in new MoUs and a due diligence exercise that took three officials from the Works ministry to Cameroon and China. Among other issues, the team found that CHECL was a subsidiary of CCCC, the company the president accuses of pirating the former’s ideas.

Although the Ministry of Works is pressing ahead to enter a conclusive MoU with the CHECL, this comes against a backdrop of warnings from the Attorney-General, the Solicitor-General and the Ministry for Ethics and Integrity about the existence of parallel memoranda, and the financial and political risks this exposed Uganda to.

The findings

Already, CCECC claims to have spent $20 million on feasibility studies, whose findings it has already submitted to the Ugandan government.

At the end of a June 27, 2013 meeting that discussed the report of a due diligence committee, it was resolved that the Ministry of Works give the UPDF a “letter of no objection” to finalise an MoU between the parties.

Uganda’s Minister of State for Works John Byabagambi, who chairs the National Co-ordinating Committee, told The EastAfrican that while there was indeed a problem of multiple memoranda, he was optimistic the government would negotiate its way out of the sticky situation.

“I am seeing a way out, and the memoranda should really have no big impact on implementation of the project. There is only one that is open-ended, which has the potential to disrupt the programme. We shall sit with all the parties and find a way out,” he told The EastAfrican.

Uganda must move with haste to resolve the controversies. A meeting of the national technical committees is scheduled to take place in Nairobi on July 22 to prepare a brief for the heads of state meeting in August.

Mr Byabagambi blames Uganda’s situation on “oversight on the side of the people who signed the different memoranda,” and the uncoordinated actions emanating from “new people in the relevant portfolios sometimes adopting positions before knowing what had transpired before.”

But as Uganda wallows in confusion, Tanzania’s Deputy Minister for Transport Dr Charles Tizeba toldThe EastAfrican that his side had made progress, with feasibility studies and had even compensated residents in Mwambani, where Tanga port is to be built.

Google Maps Navigation Goes Live In Kenya


VENTURES AFRICA – Global search engine giant, Google, on Thursday, launched Google Maps Navigation for mobile users in Kenya, making driving to unfamiliar destinations easier.

Mobile phone users with Smartphones powered by Android 2.2 or newer and iOS 5.1 (and above) can take advantage of the new feature.

Other African nations newly benefiting from this product include Ghana, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire, and Senegal.

Google Maps Navigation is a mobile application that comes as a feature of the Google Maps. It was built from the ground up as an Internet-connected GPS system, allowing users to search for their locations through voice recognition.

The app uses an internet connection to a GPS navigation system for turn-by-turn voice-guided instructions on how to arrive at a given destination.

With the turn-by-turn voice-guided navigation; users no longer have to look at their phone screen to follow the route; rather, they listen for indications.

In addition to offering address search, Google Navigation allows users to search for locations by their business names. It also present series of features including identifying landmarks along the route such as petrol stations, restaurants and parking areas.

Google’s navigation tool is regularly updated with the most recent data from Google Maps, which means users will not be required to purchase map upgrades or manually update their devices.

“Being connected to the Internet means you’re always using the latest data from Google Maps. You never need to buy map upgrades or manually update your device. Where traffic data is available, Navigation can even automatically route you around bad traffic,” Google said in a statement.

Interested users can get Google Maps Navigation, search for and download the newest release of ‘Google Maps’ in Google Play or the Apple App Store.

Kenya: Minutes reveal how IEBC bought pollbooks


Standard Digital

By Moses Michira and Paul Wafula

March 26, 2013

NAIROBI, KENYAThe electoral commission, which conducted the March 4 General Election, bought voter identification gadgets without testing their technical capability.

Face Technology, the South African firm that supplied the equipment also known as poll books, won the tender before a technical evaluation was conducted among the five prequalified bidders.

A review of the tendering procedure by the public procurement regulator found out the tender to supply poll books was awarded to the South African firm, which participated in the Anglo Leasing scandal, on September 29 last year, three weeks before the technical evaluation among the shortlisted bidders.

This major procurement breach ensured firms that were to later demonstrate their capabilities for the task, like America’s Avante and France’s Safran Morpho were left out.

The public procurement regulator, however, found out IEBC had actually made its decision to award the tender to Face Technology more than three weeks before the October 22 demonstration of technical capabilities.

Minutes from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC and presented by Avante to the regulator indicated that the tender was actually awarded on September 29.

“…bidder number 3 M/S Face Technology be considered for the award of the contract at a total cost of Sh1.397724925 ($16651139.13),” reads part of the official information from IEBC’s September 29 meeting.

The regulator says since a decision had been made, the exercise of proof of concept was meaningless becauseFace Technology, whose devise had failed, had been shockingly declared the winner. The revelation now provides the critical answers to the billion-dollar question, what exactly went wrong in the voter identification during the last General Election conducted by IEBC?

The public procurement regulator fell short of cancelling IEBC’s tender, only allowing it to proceed in the greater public interest considering the time left, on its December 3, last year, terse ruling. IEBC’s defence was that Face Technology had the lowest quote at Sh1.39 billion disregarding its inability to produce the required equipment, compared to Safran Morpho’s Sh1.6 billion and Avante’s Sh2.1 billion.

Questionable tendering

IEBC’s motivation in awarding the tender to Face Technology was questioned by the regulator who established an uneven playing ground in the procurement process. Face Technology had presented a prototype that never worked at the tendering stage, but the IEBC inexplicably offered the firm another chance to demonstrate its technical capability.

A meeting between IEBC and the three prequalified bidders held on October 10, last year indicated Safran Morpho declined to parade its prototype, while Face Technology’s equipment fell short of the requirements in the tender document.

“(Avante’s prototype) can satisfactorily meet the specifications provided in the tender document for voter identification device,” further reads the report. “( Face Technology) did not demonstrate a prototype that met the proof of concept requirements as stipulated in the tender document.”

IEBC invited Face Technology and Safran Morpho in a subsequent demonstration, leaving out Avante, which had demonstrated its technical capacity, in a meeting held on October 22. Minutes of the meeting show Face Technology presented a different device from that submitted during the close of the tender, a major procurement breach, which the IEBC turned a blind eye to.

During the evaluation,Face Technologyprovided a prototype device, which lacked a spare power back-up of 12 hours that was marked as critical. It also did not have an original battery attached to the laptops that would last for 12 hours.

The device it supplied at this stage did not meet the requirement that its start-up and recovery time would last less than 30 seconds. This means the prototype ofFace Technology was taking longer to start than required. None of the companies that qualified for the second round of evaluation also provided gadgets that had unique identification numbers assigned by the manufacturers. Lack of this detail exposes the gadgets to difficulties in tracing the user and location in case they are used to hack into the system. The Board accuses the IEBC of being cosy with Face Technologyand finding small excuses with the other companies to disqualify them.

“It (IEBC) appears to have adopted in the processing of this tender, a scheme of nit-picking, when it came to the tenders of the bidders it did not favour, and one of cosiness when it came with the successful bidder (Face Technologies),” a report, critical of the process, reads in part.

The revelations come at a time when it emerged the electronic voting and transmission system could have been attacked at least twice before it finally crashed at 8pm on Election Day.

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