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How previous losers won this year’s Sh3.7 billion polls kit tender


Despite losing the 2013 biometric voter registration tender, Safran Morpho ended up supplying the kits after the government settled on direct procurement.

Details of how the French company morphed from a loser to a winner are contained in a special audit on procurement of the 2013 poll technology conducted by the Auditor General in 2014.

The script is no different from events of the past few days.

When the Independent, Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) cancelled the original tender and settled on government-to-government, Safran was nowhere in the picture.

In the original tender, 4G Identity Solution had won at Sh3.7 billion. However, intrigues ensued during which Systems Integration trading as Symphony almost won the tender.

In the game of musical chairs that dominated the process, Face Technologies eventually took over the tender. But before anything could happen, IEBC wrote to all 29 bidders and terminated the tender altogether.

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When the government settled on the Canadian Government to supply the kits, the French government stepped in and wrote to the Office of the Prime Minister on August 15, 2012 fronting Safran Morpho.

On the same day and before the government could reply to the French, former PS Treasury James Kinyua sent a letter to the government of Canada asking it to “urgently confirm” funding for BVR.

“After obtaining assurance from the Canadian Government, the Minister for Finance wrote to the French Government advising that it was not possible to involve it in the matter of procurement of BVR kits as per their expression of interest because the Ministry of Finance/IEBC were already at advanced stage in discussions with Government of Canada,” the audit says.

Two days later on August 17, the Cabinet committee on implementation of the constitution met and directed the Ministry of Finance to liaise with the French government on possible support. The audit says no evidence was availed to show that this directive was honored.

In fact, 12 days later, the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) signed an MOU with the Ministry of Finance which said only Canadian suppliers would be involved.

When the Cabinet committee met again on September 4, 2012, they reported that both the Government of Canada and the Government of France had identified the same company – Safran Morpho.

When negotiations between IEBC and CCC commenced, they culminated in the submission of a financial proposal from Safran Morpho. The French firm had mysterious bounced back, passing through the three governments.

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“We noted that the BVR kits were supplied to IEBC by Safran Morpho of France while there was no contract between the two institutions,” the Auditor General report said.

The audit found out that the procurement process through which Safran Morpho delivered the kits ignored advice of the Attorney General and did not comply with the law. Confusion also arose after it emerged that Safran had switched identities.

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