IDEMIA files motion for Judicial Review of Kenyan National Assembly censure
IDEMIA has formally filed a motion for a substantive Judicial Review by Kenya’s High Court of the decision by the country’s National Assembly to block it from government contracts and initiate an investigation into the company, Capital News reports. The government actions violate Kenya’s Fair Administrative Act, as the investigations were ordered to justify a decision already made by the legislature, according to IDEMIA.
Justice John Mativo had declined to issue a stay against the investigation by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), noting that the case falls within DCI’s mandate. Mativo also ruled, however, that the company can sue to block the ban.
The ban and investigation were approved by the Assembly on grounds that IDEMIA was not legally registered to operate in the country when it provided services for the 2017 general election, though accusations of vote-rigging seem to have motivated some of the legislators. IDEMIA says in documents filed with Nairobi’s Milimani Law Courts that the requirement to register with a local address were not in place when the company signed an agreement with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in March, 2017. The requirement came in on June 30, 2017, according to IDEMIA.
IDEMIA’s legal representative Wilfred Lusi says the company is a worldwide leader in biometric systems for police, and its technology is used in Kenya, South Africa, Chad, Botswana and Ethiopia. The firm also says that it does not oppose any investigations, but that the administrative action by the National Assembly, which included directions to the IEBC to recover payments to IDEMIA, is unfair and amounts to a political witch hunt, according to Capital News. IDEMIA also says it was not given adequate prior notice of the allegations against it, or an appropriate opportunity to defend itself.
Kenya has registered 31 million people, or nearly two-thirds of its population, in its Huduma Namba ID scheme.