Blow to IEBC as multi-billion shilling ballot papers tender cancelled

    File image of IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati during a past briefing. PHOTO | COURTESY

    • PPARB nullified the tender following a protest by several firms including Al Ghurair.
    • The nullification has thrown the country’s electoral roadmap into a spin.
    • IEBC had awarded the three-year contract to a Greek firm Inform Lykos SA.

    It is back to the drawing board for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) after the multi-billion shilling ballot papers procurement tender was cancelled.

    The Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB) nullified the tender following a protest by several firms including Al Ghurair printing, dealing a major set back to the country's 2022 election road map.

    The country’s electoral roadmap has been thrown into a spin following the nullification of the contract to supply ballot papers, register of voters and results declaration forms.

    IEBC had awarded the three-year contract to a Greek firm Inform Lykos SA. But PPARB nullified the contract following appeals by Africa Infrastructure Development Company, Uniprint, Tall Security Print Limited and Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing.

    The board ruled that the tender for the supply of ballot papers and other electoral materials issued to Inform Lykos was nullified and set aside.

    With the cancellation of the contract, IEBC was directed to start the procurement of ballot papers afresh from the financial evaluation stage.

    That all bids that made it to the financial evaluation including Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing should be evaluated afresh.

    The commission was asked to ensure the process moves to its logical conclusion.

    It is a blow to the commission as it finds itself entangled yet again in merchant wars that nearly derailed its election calendar for 2017.

    Ironically, Al Ghurair was the last supplier of ballot papers, register of voters and election results declaration forms for the 2017 General Election in a highly contested procurement.

    The four firms, in contesting the award of the contract to the Greek company, claimed IEBC had bungled the procurement process by introducing a vague provision, requiring the bidding firms to have a 40% local shareholding.

    But Africa Infrastructure Development’s petition was dismissed after the board established that it was not a tenderer.

    The board faulted IEBC for wrongfully disqualifying the Dubai-based Al Ghurair and Tall Security.

    PPARB established that; “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. As such IEBC is to include the two in its fresh evaluation.”

    The nullification comes barely three months after PPARB nullified another contract for the supply of KIEMS kits.

    However, the decision was overturned by the High Court after IEBC challenged it.