IDEMIA ban by Kenyan National Assembly appealed as biometric national ID drive passes 15M

Kenya’s drive to register citizens for its biometric Huduma Namba national ID system will not be affected by the recent censure of IDEMIA, which provides biometric data capture kits for the project, by the country’s parliament, according to a government statement.

The National Assembly of Kenya voted recently to suspend the company for 10 years due to issues with its registration to operate in the country, and allegations of vote-rigging by politicians. The Huduma Namba system has been controversial in Kenya, but reached 8 million people registered during April, and has now surpassed 15 million Kenyans, the Ministry of Information, Communications, and Technology statement says.

The Ministry clarified that having acquired 35,000 MorphoTablet 2 kits from IDEMIA, the Huduma Namba contract with the company is concluded, meaning the assembly’s direction does not affect the project.

“The Information Technology structure of the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) features a robust architecture,” according to the announcement. “The core registration software and associated infrastructure was engineered and integrated by local software engineers.”

IDEMIA issued its own clarification, noting that it addressed the Public Accounts Committee’s queries in February, asserting its full compliance with all applicable Kenyan laws, and providing supporting documentation. The committee determined IDEMIA to be in compliance with the relevant requirements, and the company reiterated its past and future operation within the rules of Kenyan law while acknowledging the amendment to the committee report which recommends new investigations. IDEMIA has also filed an application for judicial review by the High Court of Kenya.

“As a law abiding corporate citizen, as soon as we have been afforded a fair opportunity to be heard, we are positive that we shall be vindicated and our legal position upheld by the Court,” the company said in a statement attributed to Senior Vice President for IDEMIA Public Security & Identity, Africa, Antoine Grenier.

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