Firm Behind Controversial Election Recruited for BBI Referendum.

  • Idemia, the french IT firm that supplied biometric registration kits to IEBC for the 2017 General Election is on the verge of landing another huge government contract for the supply of a technology platform for the upcoming BBI referendum and the eventual 2022 General Election. 

    The fresh tender is valued at around Ksh10 billion according to the Nation. 

    The information was contained in a brief by Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Ukur Yatani, confirming Idemia’s involvement in the upcoming referendum.

    IEBC had asked for clarification on the company's involvement following a ban imposed by Parliament and later lifted by the High Court.

    Biometric registration kits supplied by IDEMIA to IEBC
    Biometric registration kits supplied by IDEMIA to IEBC

    "Following the successful challenge by Idemia of the ban adopted by the Public Accounts Committee at the High Court, and in view of the prevailing constrained fiscal environment, the National Treasury recommends that the commission (IEBC) should continue engagement with the current vendor to support and maintain the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) technology," read the brief by CS Yatani.

    Formerly known as Safran Morpho Limited, and later OT-Morpho, the company rebranded to Idemia following a merger of Oberthur Technologies and Safran Identity & Security (Morpho).

    In 2017, The firm hit headlines after IEBC awarded it a Ksh6 billion tender to supply voter identification and results from transmission kits (KIEMS) for the General Election.

    The firm faced a lot of backlash following the 2017 presidential election that was nullified by the Supreme Court with many accusing them of being complicit with election irregularities. Idemia is blacklisted in Nigeria, Zambia, Canada. The company has successively bagged multi-billion shilling tenders under the Jubilee administration.

    Following the nullified election, the National Assembly later passed a recommendation barring the company from doing business in Kenya for 10 years “for violating the Companies Act.” However, the High Court overturned the ban in May of 2020.  

    Besides the polls contracts, it was hired to supply 31,500 biometric kits for the Huduma Namba registration. 

    Election Day 2017 in Kenya
    Election Day 2017 in Kenya

    In 2017, OT-Morpho provided the IEBC with the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (KIEMS) that was to be used to verify the voters' list before the election and later authenticate the voters with their fingerprints and photos before being allowed to vote.

    The KIEMS kit system was to come with 45,000 tablets to be used in the biometric identification by-election clerks.

    The tablets were also supposed to ensure fast, reliable and secure transmission of the voter turnout data and election results from polling centres to the national tallying centre in Bomas of Kenya.

    But on election day the system failed, forcing the vote tally to be conducted manually.