DCI report: Venezuelans infiltrated IEBC systems

election observers

Observers and party agents at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s desk at the Bomas of Kenya, the national tallying centre on august 10, 2022. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The three Venezuelans at the heart of poll rigging claims may have infiltrated the country’s electoral system thereby compromising the credibility of the August 9 polls, a forensic analysis report has revealed.

The report by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has disclosed how the three foreigners had unfettered access to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) result transmission server and could log into the systems remotely.

The DCI has recommended a forensic audit on the IEBC network system to establish if the loopholes could have been exploited to manipulate the now-disputed presidential election.

The three – Salvador Javier Suarez, Jose Gregorio Camargo Castellano and Joel Gustavo Rodriguez Garcia – were arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on July 21 while in possession of undeclared election materials.

But IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati defended them, stating that they worked for the agency’s poll technology supplier. Mr Chebukati held that they were critical to the conduct of the elections, and their arrest put at risk the August 9 polls.

According to the DCI report, exhibits recovered from the three foreigners had substantial IEBC data and evidence of access to the election system that had a great potential of exposing the whole exercise to external manipulation.

“It was established that the confiscated exhibits had substantial information held in the IEBC systems are in full control (sic) of foreigner’s employees of M/S Smartmatic International Holdings BV and Seamless Limited who have been contracted by IEBC,” reveals the forensic analysis report.

IEBC contracted Smartmatic to provide voter identification and results transmission technology in the August 9 General Election.

At least 19 foreigners had administrative rights to access IEBC systems. There were only two Kenyans with such rights, according to the DCI findings.

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“It was established that the users who have administrative rights in the system are 21 in number, of which 19 are foreigners and only two Kenyans have access to the IEBC system,” states the report.

 Part of evidence filed at the Supreme Court by Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga is on claims that Forms 34A were intercepted and results altered before they were posted again on the IEBC portal for final tallying at the Bomas of Kenya. Mr Odinga wants DCI boss George Kinoti to produce evidence from what was seized from the Venezuelans.

The DCI conducted a forensic audit on the exhibits that included a 1TB external disc, a laptop, six flash disks, three mobile phones, one tablet, a Sim card and a monitor.

A forensic analysis on a laptop exhibit that was seized from Mr Castellano revealed that the user was able to directly login remotely using remote desktop tools into the IEBC local IP address.

The laptop’s history on remote access to the IEBC IP address further revealed that the user had been accessing IEBC systems since March 2022.

“It was established that one Jose Gregorio Camargo Castellano is one of the IEBC system administrators and in a position to remotely access the entire IEBC data and has capacity to add, delete, edit or manipulate in any manner the entire IEBC system,” states the report.

The laptop had an IEBC database schematic diagram, an IEBC network diagram, the IEBC Kiems kit deployment list, usernames and passwords, among other components crucial to the IEBC electoral technology system.

Analysis on the hard disk seized from Mr Castellanos revealed that it contained settings for remote access to IEBC server, a results transmission system, access rights for IEBC system users, and system updates.

The revelation comes in the backdrop of an explosive affidavit by Mr Justus Nyang’aya, one of the commissioners who disowned the results as announced by Mr Chebukati, that claimed that a foreigner identified as Godino Omor was able to access the server and pull down the results posted.