Why firm that supplied Huduma Namba, IEBC kits could be blacklisted


File image of government officers registering for NIIMS.
File image of government officers registering for NIIMS.

IDEMIA, formerly known as Safran Morpho, a French information technology company that supplied kits being used in the ongoing Huduma Namba registration could be blacklisted from future transactions with Kenyan institutions.

This was after the National Assembly unanimously amended the Public Accounts Committee report and directed the criminal investigations agency to probe IDEMIA for its role in the 2017 polls.

“Why should they have double standards, what OT Morpho is doing in Kenya it can’t do in Paris, or London, or USA…where you see such change of name, iko ukora…,” said Majority Leader Aden Duale.

Also Read: Kenyans fault Huduma Namba plan over Mastercard links

MPs accuse the company of flouting the law by entering into a multi-billion shillings contract with IEBC, yet it did not have a physical address in Kenya.

In the run up to the August 2017 general election and the October 2017 repeat presidential polls, IEBC awarded OT Morpho tenders worth over Ksh.6 billion to provide election technology.

“This is the law because when they were doing procurement in 2017, they knew this was the law, their lawyers should have advised them…,” said Ruaraka MP Tom Kajwang.

But less than two years after the company supplied IEBC with over 40,000 Kenya integrated election management kits, trouble looms for the French company.

The August House recommended that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) undertake a probe.

They also propose that appropriate criminal action is instituted on OT Morpho, now known as M/S IDEMIA for doing business with IEBC before being registered as a foreign company, as required by the Companies Act, 2015.

Parliament further recommended that M/S IDEMIA be blacklisted and barred from transacting business with any government agency for a period of at least 10 years, if found culpable of flouting provisions of the Companies Act.

“We should not lean towards status of a banana republic where multinationals can walk in and walk, walk in with briefcases, walk out with tonnes of money without any due process…,” said Nambale MP Sakwa Bunyasi.

Other than investigating all contracts entered into between IEBC and OT Morpho as known then, Parliament also recommended that all monies unlawfully paid under these deals be recovered and the company directors prosecuted.

Those who paid out will also be held personally liable, if the DCI finds fault with the transactions.

Some MPs however felt the recommendations could trigger a series of legal contests between the government and other foreign agencies.

“This company should have registered within our jurisdiction. If it did not, it cannot be excused because this is the same parliament that made the company law, that requires a company to have local footprints before being awarded such huge contracts…,” said Luanda MP Stephen Omulele.

Instructively, the M/S IDEMIA was recently awarded a contract by the Ministry of Interior Affairs and Coordination of National Government to supply 31,500 kits that are being used in the ongoing National Integrated Identity Management System(NIIMS) popularly known as Huduma Number, that will cost the taxpayer Ksh.6 billion.

“ Even as we talk about IDEMIA, its important to note that the same company has other running contracts with Kenya, Huduma number, and the same company will be entangled…,” said Kiharu Ndindi Nyoro.

The French firm has within 3 years changed names from M/S Morpho to OT Morpho then Safran Identity and Security and is currently known as M/S IDEMIA.

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Story By Francis Gachuri
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