IEBC Condemns the Arrest of Smartmatic BV Employees Meant to Manage KIEMs System


The IEBC has condemned the arrest of three Venezuelan nationals at JKIA. According to the Commission, the three arrived in Kenya to execute a contract associated with the deployment of technology in the incoming polls.

The IEBC has since clarified that the arrested people are actually employees of Smartmatic International B.V.

During the last polls, IEBC managed the ICT/KIEMS (Kenya Integrated Election Management System) system. The system had been put in place by Oberthur Technologies (OT) and Safran Identity & Security (Morpho) which have extensive knowledge about biometrics, authentication, digital security as well as video and data analytics.

However, Smartmatic International B.V. has since taken over the same roles. The company creates and offers electronic voting technology and services that have been designed to make elections ‘more auditable and transparent.’

Circling back to the arrest, IEBC says that it has a valid and legal contract executed between itself and Smartmatic International B.V. for supply, delivery, installation, testing, commissioning, support and maintenance of ICT/KIEMS.

“The brazen decision of the security authorities to arrest, detain and confine in a solitary hideout the three personnel without justification, is an exhibition of intimation on the hardworking persons who are only keen to deliver robust technology infrastructure for the conduct of a credible, secure and verifiable elections,” says the Commission in a statement.

The IEBC adds: “The Commission wishes to inform the public that the arrest and continued holding of the personnel has the inevitable effect of hampering the deployment of technology in the forthcoming General Election. Technology plays a central role in elections and the Commission wonders what the intention behind the holding of the technical personnel is meant to achieve.”

Back in 2017, NASA, the party that Azimio’s Presidential Candidate Raila Odinga had vied from alleged that Oberthur Technologies (OT) and Safran Identity & Security (Morpho) were unlawfully awarded the tender to provide KIEMs kits citing bribery cases. IEBC had said it would use cloud servers and a backup platform, and the entire process would be done in line with international regulations. At the same time, OT-Morpho/Safran said it would perform a rehearsal for the system before the 2017 re-elections.

IEBC has since clarified that it only shared technical specs with Smartmatic and that biometric voter registration (BVR) data has since been migrated from OT Moprho to Smartmatic.

The Commission has also added that KIEMs registers will be locked to specific polling stations via a QR code specific to them, but the tech is still under audit.