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Economy

MPs slap 10-year ban on OT-Morpho

Parliament in session
Parliament in session. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Parliament has banned French firm IDEMIA Securities Limited, formerly OT Morpho, from doing business in Kenya for at least 10 years, citing a violation of the Companies Act.

The move by the MPs Wednesday introduces complications for the government over the ongoing registration for the National Integrated Identity Management System (Niims) or Huduma Namba, whose Sh6 billion contract was awarded to the French firm.

MPs amended the report of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the audited accounts of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to have the technology firm held accountable for payments it received for contracts related to the 2017 General Election.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission awarded the firm a Sh6 billion tender to supply voter identification and results transmission kits (KIEMS) ahead of the 2017 polls.

Opposition candidate Raila Odinga accused the firm of being complicit in alleged rigging of the presidential election whose outcome was later declared null and void by the Supreme Court.

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In its findings, the watchdog committee chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi found the French firm to have acted in breach of law for not being registered locally as a foreign company.

“The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) must investigate IDEMIA, with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) instituting appropriate criminal action in line with the Companies Act for purporting to do business with IEBC without being registered locally as required,” Mr Wandayi said.

The committee also asked the procurement regulator — the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority Board — to investigate IDEMIA and enter its name in the list of firms blacklisted from seeking State tenders.

The French technology firm, which late last year rebranded to IDEMIA, has already supplied 31,500 biometric kits for the Huduma number registration set to last 45 days till mid next month.

National Assembly Leader of Majority Aden Duale said that the company must be dealt with if the country is to be ready for fair and credible elections.

He also faulted ther rate at which the firm changes names, terming it is suspicious.

The company has changed names thrice in the past five years during which it got lucrative deals in the country.

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