How vendor wars rock IEBC multi-million shilling tenders

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has often faced difficulties when bidding for multi-million shilling tenders.

That the controversy surrounding the Sh2.5 billion tender awarded to a Dubai-based firm has raised a storm is just indicative of the high stakes involved.

For this year’s election, the electoral commission has defied pressure and awarded the contract to Al Ghurair to supply 130 million ballot papers.

This is after the commission failed twice to complete the process of contract award, when the High Court nullified its early tender.

In April, IEBC faced a similar scenario when it had to cancel the Sh3.8 billion Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (KIEMS) deal, citing the vendor wars.

Chairman Wafula Chebukati come out clearly warning that the commission will not accept to be held captive by firms or individuals pursuing “tender wars” to the detriment of credible, free and fair elections as he justified single sourcing as the only way to cut off the brokers.

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“You have vendors fighting out there. The commission will not allow vendor wars and individuals to undermine our processes. That is why we are cancelling that tender,” Chebukati said in April.

And in 2012, IEBC was unable to complete a Sh3.9 billion tender for technology that was used in 2013 polls, leading to government deal between Kenya and Canada.

Herculean task

In all the instances, vendors who are said to have infiltrated the commission tendering process often erect hurdles which make it almost similar to conclude the deals.

The commission has often faced a herculean task as commercial and political interest dominates the process.

Some staffs are also accused of colluding with vendors to give insider information.

The case in hand is the failed KIEMs tender where it was revealed that one of the firms, Dittel Limited, had obtained insider information from the commission.

The firms that bid for the tender include, Ellams products limited (Kenya) which is among the biggest security printing from in the East Africa region, Manipal Technologies (India), Paarl Media (South Africa), Ki-hitech (India), Eabaltijas (Lativia), Digital Printing Supply (Italy), Tall Security Printing and United Printing and Publishing (both of UK).

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