IEBC’s ballots and forms tender award nullified

Wafula Chebukati

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Wafula Chebukati during a meeting with the National Assembly Budget and Appropriations Committee in Mombasa on October 27.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

 The electoral commission’s preparations for the 2022 General Election suffered a major setback after the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB) nullified a multibillion-shilling tender for the supply of ballot papers and register of voters, among other items.

The board, sitting in Nairobi, directed the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to restart the process at the financial evaluation stage.

A three-year contract worth about Sh3 billion had been awarded to Inform Lykos (Hellas) SA, a Greek company.

The tender included supply and delivery of statutory election result declaration forms to be used at polling stations, election and referendum result declaration forms for constituencies and counties, and national tallying centre.

However, the board established that IEBC bungled the procurement process after two foreign firms that unsuccessfully bid for the tender challenged the award claiming it was irregular.

A ruling by the five-member board chaired by Ms Faith Waigwa took IEBC back to the drawing board. “The first respondent’s letter of award of October 14, 2021, is hereby nullified and set aside,” ruled PPARB in the orders issued on November 17.

The cancellation comes barely three months after the board nullified a Sh4.5 billion tender that IEBC had also awarded to the Greek company for the supply, delivery and maintenance of the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (Kiems) kits. However, the decision was overturned after the commission went to the High Court.

IEBC is likely to also challenge the recent PPRAB ruling at the High Court.

The board cancelled the Kiems kit tender after finding that IEBC had not followed the law while shopping for the new system to be used to identify voters on the voting day and to transmit results. The decision was as a result of a request for review lodged by one of the interested bidders, Risk Africa Innovates Limited.

But Justice Jairus Ngaah quashed the decision after finding that the board erred because the company was not a candidate for the tender.

Shailesh Patel T/A Africa Infrastructure Development Company, Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing LL and Tall Security Print Limited challenged the ballot tender award to Inform Lykos. But the application by Shailesh Patel was thrown out after the board established it was not a tenderer.

The board found IEBC to have wrongfully disqualified the Dubai-based Al Ghurair, which was contracted for the 2017 General Election at Sh2.5 billion, and Tall Security.

“We accordingly find and hold that the applicant was disqualified from financial criteria unfairly and/or based on a criterion that was not set out in the IEBC’s tender document,” the board observed.

PPARB further established that in the minutes of the tender evaluation that started on September 16, due diligence was conducted on the most responsive tender by the IEBC’s evaluation committee. However, no due diligence report was availed.

Based on this, the board also went ahead to nullify IEBC’s notification of intention to award the tender of October 14.

It further ordered IEBC’ evaluation committee to readmit Al Ghurair’s tender at the financial evaluation stage and conduct a re-evaluation of its tender together with all the tenders that made it to the financial evaluation stage. According to IEBC documents filed with PPARB, only United Printing and Publishing LLC, Al Ghurair and Inform Lykos reached the financial evaluation stage.

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