The Electoral Commission has finally broken its silence over a series of allegations leveled by IMANI Africa over supposed procurement breaches in the purchase of a new system for the compilation of a new voters’ register.
The Commission is fighting off claims that it flouted the laws in the award of a contract to Thales company, the new vendor expected to supply biometric kits for the compilation of the proposed electoral roll.
IMANI Africa among other things alleged that the election governing body rigged the tender process to a company with reputational issues plus challenging the EC’s claim that, procuring new biometric kits would be cheaper than upgrading the existing ones.
Vice President of IMANI Africa, Bright Simons at a press conference on March 10, 2020, alleged that the Commission’s Entity Tender Committee (ETC) working on the procurement process was dissolved and reconstituted to enable the said company win the bid to supply hardware components for the new system.
But top officials at the Electoral Commission disagree.
The source tells JoyNews, “the EC’s Tender Committee is made up of the 3 Commissioners, 2 members of Parliament from the two major political parties and a representative from the Attorney General’s Department.”
The official, therefore, finds it strange that “IMANI will issue a report clearly portending that these individuals who make up the ETC are so ignorant that they don’t know what the procurement law is about.”
At Tuesday’s press conference, Bright Simons was of the view that the EC’s plan to carry out a mass registration on April 18, would let the country incur needless cost urging the Commission to rather focus on registering new voters.
“EC’s claims that it will cost just $56 million to procure a new system whilst the cost of refreshing and maintaining the existing one would cost $74 million are inaccurate because a tender recently completed by the EC has revealed that the EC plans to spend $72 million on hardware alone,” he said.
Describing some of these figures as untrue, the top clarified that “the hardware is about $54 million and the software is far less than what IMANI has put in the public domain.”
“This has been accepted by both parties. The last time the Commission purchased registration kits and verification devices were 2013. As far as I am concerned, the commission hasn’t violated any laws regarding the procurement of BVMs,” the source added.
The source also reiterated that the Electoral Commission is “on course and ready to serve the interest of the nation.”