OMTATAH BID TO BLOCK IEBC TENDER TO KPMG FLOPS AGAIN.

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Independent Election and Boundaries Commission lawyer Wambua Kilonzo making submission in court.

BY SAM ALFAN.

High court has declined to issue orders stopping the ongoing audit of the voters register by International audit firm KPMG.
The High Court ruled that it was in public interest for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to make all the necessary logistical arrangements within the strict deadlines imposed by the Constitution.
The court further directed that the matter be heard expeditiously adding that Kenya’s are psyched up for the August polls.
“The petition is likely to affect the timelines of the elections,”Aburili said.

The final audit of the national voter registry will be conducted by international firm, KPMG, before presentation to the National Assembly in readiness for the August General Election.

Lawyer Wambua Kilonzo confirmed to Justice Roselyne Aburili that the IEBC executed the contract with KPMG on March 31 and the audit was already underway.

The national polls agency was keen to observe all the time-lines to ensure that Kenyans exercise their democratic rights to vote.

The Judge observed that Kenyans were “psyched” for the elections and a court of law cannot change the date when they should pick leaders of their choice.

“The election date was anchored in the Constitution and the IEBC should be accorded the necessary assistance to execute its mandate, she said.

Justice Aburili said she was not persuaded that activist Okiya Omtatah and the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD), who have challenged the award of the tender- are likely to suffer “real or imaginary prejudice” in case the audit process proceeds.

Wambua and lawyer Kiragu Kimani, for KPMG, had argued that interim orders suspending the exercise were likely to interfere with the elections. They conceded the petition by Omtatah and CORD deserved urgent hearing and determination.

The Judge directed lawyers Apollo Mboya and Anthony Oluoch, appearing for the two aggrieved parties, to furnish the necessary documents to their adversaries to facilitate a priority hearing on April 19.

Omtatah wanted IEBC compelled to convene an urgent stakeholders’ forum within seven days while CORD insisted that the award of the tender deserved to be nullified. The activist had protested that the tendering process was “unfair, discriminatory, arbitrary, inconsistent and capricious.”

On the other hand, CORD was allowed to participate in Omtatah’s petition after its judicial review application was struck out last Thursday for being “incompetent.” The opposition party had complained that IEBC did not allow public participation and consultations before the tender was awarded to the international audit firm last December.

The major bone of contention is that the disputed tender was processed when the IEBC leadership was being restructured and that its Chief Executive Officer Ezrah Chiloba had no capacity to enforce the award.

The abortive suit by CORD suffered a technical knock-out after KPMG protested that it had not participated in the undisclosed tender that purported to be under challenge. The mix-up of the tenders resulted in the striking out of the case.

CORD, which was represented by Ugenya Senator James Orengo, had protested that the proposed audit of the master register of voters was clouded in secrecy and lack accountability since the methodology and criteria to be employed had not been disclosed to all stakeholders as required by new electoral laws.

“The matter will be heard whether parties have complies with the court or directions or not,”Aburili directed.
The matter will now be heard on the 19th of this month. Parties have been urged to file the papers and submissions.

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