The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has turned down a request by Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji to investigate five employees of the electoral agency over alleged irregular and illegal transfer of voters in Wajir and Garissa counties.
EACC chief executive officer Twalib Mbarak, in a reply to Mr Haji’s letter, said the investigations sought by the DPP do not fall within the mandate of the anti-corruption watchdog.
He suggested to Mr Haji that the probe should be conducted by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
“Please note that the alleged illegal registration and transfer of voters does not fall within the mandate of the EACC and it is hereby recommended that IEBC deals with the matter in accordance with their mandate,” said Mr Mbarak.
The DPP had requested EACC to institute comprehensive investigations against five IEBC officers into the voter transfer allegations and submit the investigation report for perusal.
He made the request after receiving a letter from IEBC’s Chief Executive Officer Marjan Hussein on the preliminary findings of investigations of the alleged electoral offences involving the voters’ register.
In the preliminary Investigations Report, it was said that there were various incidences of illegal, irregular registration and transfer of voters in Eldas Constituency in Wajir County and Balambala Constituency in Garissa county by IEBC staff.
The DPP named the staff as Adan Salah (former ICT Officer Wajir county and current Garissa County ICT officer) and Issack Muhumed (former returning officer Eldas Constituency and current returning officer for Ijara Constituency).
Also named in the DPP’s letter was Abdullahi Musa Mohammed (the former returning officer Balambala Constituency and current returning officer Wajir North Constituency), Mohammed Maow Abdi (former deputy returning officer Balambala Constituency) and Ali Noor Hussein (the returning officer Balambala Constituency).
“The alleged registration and transfers of voters to Eldas Constituency in Wajir county and the Balambala Constituency in Garissa by the IEBC staff is contrary to Section 3 and 6 of the Election Offences Act, 2016,” said Mr Haji.
The directive came against the backdrop of an audit report that exposed major security loopholes in the 2022 voter register that can be exploited to manipulate next week’s elections.
The report by KPMG unearthed weak password systems and log-in details of ghost electoral officials, pointing to the possibility of hackers accessing the database and proceeding to deny voters their right to cast their ballots by either deleting their details from the roll or transferring them away from their preferred polling stations.
The report also pointed out that the IEBC decision to switch provision of technology from IDEMIA to Smartmatic could lead to loss of voters’ data due to differences in functionality of the two systems.
The commission said investigations were carried out and the results showed that the voter update activities were performed by duly authorised registration officers.