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December 17, 2017

IEBC server was not hacked, says French KIEMS supplier

IEBC chair Wafula Chebutaki during a press conference shortly after the Supreme Court ruling ordering fresh presidential elections within 60 days, September 1, 2017. /ENOS TECHE
IEBC chair Wafula Chebutaki during a press conference shortly after the Supreme Court ruling ordering fresh presidential elections within 60 days, September 1, 2017. /ENOS TECHE

The French digital security company that was in charge of IEBC servers has dismissed claims that the system was hacked.

OT-Morpho, through its Africa and Middle East director Olivier Charlanes, said the system used in the annulled August 8 polls was not tampered with.

Charlanes on Thursday told Bloomberg that the company handed over all data for analysis by the Supreme Court.

He said the same technology systems that were used in the election have been tried and used in other countries.

"The system used in Kenya wasn't pirated. We've passed on all the logs to be analysed by experts commissioned by the Supreme Court."

This came after Opposition leader Raila Odinga successfully challenged the declaration of President Uhuru Kenyatta as winner of last month's election.

In its judgement, the Supreme Court declared the results null and void citing irregularities and illegalities.

Charlanes, however, said the company is awaiting the written judgment of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Some days before the election, IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati allayed fears the system could be compromised.

This followed fears among Kenyans after the murder of acting ICT director Chris Msando with parties raising concerns of possible hacking.

The chair at the time said the system was secure and was designed to be operated by multiple users before gaining access.

CEO Ezra Chiloba echoed Chebukati's sentiments saying the system passwords were yet to be forwarded to the relevant officers who would handle them during the election.

"There has been no issue raised with the security company that has access to the servers. They are yet to give access to some people who will handle the system," Chiloba said.

He said the system was being tested by three security companies with one of them being identified as IBM.

Read: IEBC servers secure, system designed ‘to be operated by multiple users’

As the results of the election were being tallied, Raila asked IEBC not to declare them saying they had evidence the servers had been sacked.

He claimed Msando's logins had been used to access the servers.

Read: Msando login used to hack IEBC server, Uhuru must go - Raila

However, in a memo to Chiloba, the chair sought explanation on how a separate user account was created without his knowledge and consent.

Chebukati asked the CEO to explain why he authorised the creation of this account where over 9,934 transactions were conducted in his name.

"Paul Mugo and Boniface Wamae who were under instructions from ICT director James Muhati, through your office, confirmed the creation of username account and a password in the name of the chairperson without my knowledge or consent," he said.

"... subsequently this account was used to undertake over 9,934 transactions. I direct that you take immediate action against these officers and report back by close of business today."

Read: Chebukati’s 12 questions for Chiloba excite NASA

Also Read: Chebukati demands answers from Chiloba as IEBC election fallout deepens

NASA has so far written to the French government demanding administrative action against Saffran and Morpho.

The coalition said the companies should solely be held responsible for fraudulent display of fake statistics on a public portal purporting to be results of the general elections.

They also want the firms punished for allowing of unauthorised access to its servers.

The co-principals say the companies manipulated the results transmissions system in a manner that undermined the will of the people.

"We wish to bring to your attention that in providing the said ICT support services to the Commission, the subject companies have been involved in unethical acts that may amount to criminal activities under Electoral Act and the Elections Offenses Act," read part of the letter.

The coalition wants Morpho be probed for failing to provide access to the Kenya elections 2017 servers and transaction logs as directed by the Supreme Court.


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