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Nasa drags Safaricom into anti-IEBC dispute

Nasa leader Raila Odinga (centre), ODM Director of Election Junet Mohamed and former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale address the media at Capitol hill offices in Nairobi on September26, 2017. PHOTO | SILAS APOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Nasa leader Raila Odinga (centre), ODM Director of Election Junet Mohamed and former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale address the media at Capitol hill offices in Nairobi on September26, 2017. PHOTO | SILAS APOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Telecoms operator Safaricom #ticker:SCOM has been drawn into the nasty political fallout that followed the Supreme Court’s nullification of the August 8 presidential election.

The National Super Alliance (Nasa), the opposition outfit whose presidential candidate successfully petitioned the court, Tuesday accused Safaricom of colluding with the electoral commission to derail the transmission of results.

Nasa said Safaricom had failed to establish a link for transmission of election results and that the company had further conspired to cover up offences committed by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and its ICT contractor OT-Morpho.

In a statement, however, Safaricom said it performed its contract with IEBC to the letter.

“Safaricom is ready to face any investigations and/or private prosecutions, brought by any party, on this matter,” said CEO Bob Collymore.

Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga on Tuesday demanded that the Director of Public Prosecutions investigate six Safaricom managers he accused of being at the centre of the conspiracy.

Mr Odinga said that the political alliance was ready to take legal action against Safaricom and its parent company, Vodafone, for alleged involvement in the conspiracy.

Nasa reckons that Safaricom was contracted to set up two secure connections. The first such virtual private network (VPN) was meant to transmit election results from polling centres to OT-Morpho’s servers in France while the second was to transmit the results back to Kenya.

The opposition alliance claimed that Safaricom failed to set up the second VPN, making it impossible for results transmitted from the polling centres to reach the National Tallying Centre at the Bomas of Kenya.

“Consequently, results from the polling station KIEMS kits left the country but never found their way back to IEBC,” said Nasa said in the statement.

Mr Odinga also claimed that Safaricom was aware that the IEBC was transmitting false results, but did not report this “illegal activity”. 

Safaricom is also accused of allowing 100 KIEMS Kits to operate on its network despite knowledge that they had been stolen.

Nasa has named six individuals at Safaricom as being culpable in the vote transmission conspiracy. The list includes Safaricom’s chief technology officer Thibaud Rerolle, head of technology security Anthony Gacanja, Robert Mutai who heads technology strategy and governance as well as Andrew Masila, a senior manager.

Others are Shaka Kwach, the head of special projects and Farouk Gaffour, the head of network and service operations. Safaricom did not respond to questions on the subject.

The IEBC contracted Kenya’s three main telecom operators to transmit results for the August elections in an arrangement that zoned country into three areas and shared the data transmission contract among Safaricom, Telkom Kenya and Airtel. OT-Morpho is a French digital security firm that provided the electronic system used to identity voters and to transmit results.

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