Problems plague Kenyan electoral biometrics contract
The true identity of the biometrics company, Symphony, has been put in question amid claims that it was registered more than twice. This puts the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission of the Kenyan Government in a tight spot as they will have to investigate the allegations before proceeding to formalize their tender to the company. Symphony could get as much as US$46.3 million for supplying Kenya with biometric voter registration kits.
The IEBC has already written to the registrar of companies asking them to verify the identity of Symphony and also instructed its CEO to ask other government departments to seek additional information with regards to the firm. They have also contacted the German government asking for background information on one of Symphony’s international partners, Dermalog.
For its part, the private group has clarified that it had initially entered into the tender as Systems Integrated Limited but officially conducts business under the name “Symphony”. The Ministry of Economics of Germany has said that they recommend the company due to its longstanding work in and around Europe. Furthermore, Symphony has presented a letter from the CFC Stanbic Bank stating that the firm will offer a US$45 million credit facility for the tender.
FaceTech of South Africa was the first company to be recommended to the tender committee but was later deferred as their quote was about US$7 million over the intended budget. The leaders of the committee who recommended the South African company resigned after the deferment. The committee strongly felt that the country needed a company that already had experience registering voters in Africa, which was also one of the bid conditions. FaceTech has previously worked in African countries like South Africa, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Namibia.
Will the IEBC be able to resolve this issue in time for the scheduled registration of voters in Kenya?