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IEBC gearing up for a referendum

The electoral agency could have awarded a tender for the printing of at least 20 million ballot papers in what indicates that the commission is gearing up for a referendum.

The Star has established that the Wafula Chebukati-led Commission included the provision for referendum materials in a contract awarded to a local firm to print ballot papers.

The commission had in 2019 entered into a deal between IEBC, De La Rue Kenya and EPZ ltd, for the printing of ballot papers that were to be used in the by-elections that were held in September the same year.

However, in the deal for tender No. IEBC/DP/02/2019-2021 with De la Rue on 20th September 2019 the commission included the printing of 20 million ballot papers at Sh397.4 million.

Kenya Literature Bureau, Hills Converters(K) Ltd, Sintel security solutions Ltd and Ellams Products Ltd are the only four firms that responded to the tender closed on August 24, 2019.

Arising from the preliminary evaluation, only Ellams was found to be responsive to the preliminary requirements hence qualified to proceed to the mandatory technical evaluation.

The IEBC subjected Ellams to the mandatory technical evaluation by analysing the samples submitted but the firm was knocked out for being non-responsive.

“Subsequently, no bidder was subjected to financial evaluation; hence the Commission could not determine the prices quoted by each firm as that would have been the next evaluation stage,” IEBC wrote.

The commission chairman was responding to a letter by Okiya Omtatah, the executive director for the Kenyans for Justice and Development Trust who had sought information from the commission.

Omtatah had sought to know why the commission abandoned restricted tendering for direct procurement for voting materials and why De la Rue was awarded the tender yet it had not shown any interest when the restricted tender was floated.

“Therefore, the procurement was terminated on 27th August 2019 and on 28th August 2019 wrote to the Procurement Regulatory Authority seeking approval as there was urgency for ward by-elections,” Chebukati said.

In a separate tender No. IEBC/02 (B)//2019-2021 for supply and delivery of forms 35A on an A3 paper, the commission seeks to acquire at least 41,000 result declaration forms at Sh383 per page.

This means that IEBC will spend a minimum of Sh16 million if the result declaration forms will only be a single page for all the 40,833 polling stations countrywide.

According to documents seen by the Star, the IEBC confirmed that the tender was awarded on September 17, 2019, through direct procurement after all the four firms that bid failed to qualify.

The commission said it followed the law in awarding the tender through direct procurement and filed a report with the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority and even wrote to all the bidders over the same.

The award was on ‘as and when required’ for a period from October 2019 to end of 2021 with the massive ballot papers suggesting that the commission could have foreseen a possible referendum by end of this year.

The IEBC has projected that it will cost Kenyans sh14 billion to hold a national referendum while ODM leader Raila Odinga had rubbished the claims saying it would consume as little as Sh2 billion.

So far, six county assemblies of Siaya, Busia, Kisumu, Homabay, West Pokot and Trans Nzoia have given their nod while Baringo has rejected it.

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