The arrest of three Venezuelans in possession of electoral materials with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) labels has elicited questions about their possession of the materials.
National Police Service (NPS) deployed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) said they had to apprehend the three to question them about the found IEBC stickers in their possessions.
The Venezuelans apparently are attached to Smartmatic International company and are said to be part of the technicians who will help IEBC with the deployment of the technology during the electioneering period.
Smartmatic is an American-based company that describes itself as “the global leader in applied cybersecurity technologies for elections and government systems,” reads a statement on their website.
“The Commission has a valid legal contract executed between itself and Smartmatic International B.V. for the supply, delivery, installation, testing, commissioning, support and maintenance of the Kenya Integrated Election Management System,” said IEBC.
Reasons for the arrest by the NPS were attributed to a lack of notice from the electoral commission on the importation of any electoral material even as questions emerged as to why the IEBC would use foreigners from a contracted firm to transport electoral materials as part of their luggage.
Smartmatic International is a globally well-renowned company that has partaken in elections across the globe since 2004 to name including; countries in Africa, Asia, and America.
However, there have been allegations pertaining to its compromising position as earlier this year in January, the Philippines Cyber Crime Investigations Center reported that the IT firm had been compromised during the execution of the country’s presidential elections in 2016.
Apparently, the sitting president, Bongbong Marcos, had contested his defeat blaming irregularities and discrepancies which were confirmed by an inquiry that revealed the presence of a server error in Smartmatic’s system.
There were allegations earlier in 2006, as the company was linked to the Venezuelan government during the local elections in Chicago, US.
Some of which resurfaced in 2020 when former US President, Donald Trump, accused the company of collaborating with Venezuela’s government to scuttle his reelection plans.
Smartmatic International still defended itself and its integrity by further filing a defamation suit against American News outlet Fox News after reports of the company suffering multi-billion losses.
Even though IEBC has defended its choice in offering the contract to Smartmatic, arguing that it wasn’t privy to the reports that linked Smartmatic to the issues raised.
“I relied on the report of the evaluation committee that did their due diligence and provided me with the report. That is what I rely on. These issues were never cited. This would require the company to respond. This information did not come to our attention. It would be proper at this time, for the company to respond to such queries,” remarked IEBC CEO, Hussein Marjan
IEBC CEO Hussein Marjan in the commission’s defense said the company is best placed to come out giving clarification on the alleged issues in a detailed address.