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IDEMIA defends value of biometric voter kits to Kenyan committee

Categories Biometrics News  |  Elections  |  ID for All

IDEMIA executives defended the performance of its biometric voting technology in an appearance before the National Assembly of Kenya’s Public Accounts Committee, local news outlet Capital FM reports.

The company, in its previous guise OT-Morpho, was awarded a contract to provide 45,000 biometric kits to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for its Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEAMS), for use in the country’s 2017 national elections. The Daily Nation reports that the contract was worth 4.2 billion Kenyan Shillings (US$42 million). The tender reportedly divided the commissioners making the decision, with a group interested in Smartmatic technology narrowly overruled. After the results of the presidential elections were nullified by Kenya’s Supreme Court, IDEMIA received an additional KES 2.5 billion ($25 million) contract to support the democratic do-over.

The security of IDEMIA’s system during the election was questioned by the opposition party, and the company pushed back, offering to undergo an external audit. IDEMIA has since been contracted by the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government to supply 31,500 mobile biometric voter authentication kits for enrollments in the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS).

Directors of the company had been summoned to address the Public Accounts Committee earlier in the month as part of a review of government spending in the 2015-2016 fiscal year, but did not appear, and IDEMIA did not respond to several notifications of their requested presence, according to the Nation. This prompted Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo to call for the company to be blocked from future government tenders. The appearance was rescheduled, with MPs issuing stern warnings to the company.

IDEMIA Executive Vice President and Executive Committee Member Matthew Foxton and Senior Vice President of Public Security & Identity Activities for Africa Olivier Charlanes appeared at the rescheduled meeting and told the legislators that the company’s technology provided Kenya with fair value.

“As a company, we have no doubt that we dutifully provided a robust system to IEBC, as part of our corporate commitment to empower citizens to vote in ways that are now possible in a connected environment,” Charlanes assured the committee.

The committee is expected to deliver its final report on the national government’s spending soon.

Capital FM reports that IDEMIA has provided an Automated Palm and Fingerprint Identification System (APFIS) to Kenyan Police since 2008, and has supported elections in the country since 2012.

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