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Telcos threatened to cut off IEBC data centre over debt


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Telcos threatened to cut off IEBC data centre over debt


IEBC CEO Marjan Hussein Marjan while appearing before the National assembly committee on Diaspora affairs and migrant workers on March 14, 2023. PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NMG

The election agency has revealed that four mobile firms threatened to disconnect its data centre, which was the nerve centre for the results transmission in last year’s General Election, over Sh940 million debt.

The consortium of mobile firms — Safaricom, Airtel, Telkom and Osta Tech/Safa-IEC) Telcom (Thuraya) — entered into a Sh939,563,682 to provide the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (Kiems) results transmission network for the 2022 General Election.

Under the two deals, Safaricom quoted Sh370.06 million, Airtel (Sh175.6 million, Telkom (Sh191.9 million) and Osta Tech/Safa-IEC) Telcom (Thuraya) Sh201.9 million.

Read: IEBC put to task over stolen election gadgets

“Towards the end of the fiscal year, the commission engaged Mobile Network Operations (MNOs) on the provision of Kiems Kits results transmission network for 2022 General Election,” Marjan Hussein Marjan said in a letter to then-Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani.

The commission said the total cost for the requirements of results transmission exceeds the budgeted amount of Sh203.5 million for the financial year 2021/22 and Sh135 million for the financial year 2022/23.

He said the budgeted amount was based on the 2017 polls expenditure. The MNOs quoted Sh939,563,682, leaving a deficit of Sh601 million.

“Failure to settle the long outstanding amounts will lead to service disruption which may compromise the network resilience resulting in lack of credibility of the elections and non-compliance with the law and established regulations.”

Read: Former IEBC chiefs get four years in jail over corruption

Mr Marjan said the total deficit that the commission has is Sh830.12 million but the IEBC reviewed its budget and seeks to reallocate Sh350 million from General Election Materials and additional funding of Sh480.13 million to bridge the deficit for Kiems result transmission.

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