IEBC spent Sh939m for 2022 polls results transmission

The money was paid to four Mobile Network Operators that were contracted to provide the crucial service.

In Summary
  • IEBC had budgeted to transmit results with Sh338 million.
  • The figure was based on 2017 election budget.
IEBC chief executive Hussein Marjan.
RESULTS TRANSMISSION: IEBC chief executive Hussein Marjan.

The electoral agency spent Sh939 million to transmit election results from the polling stations, constituency tallying centres up to national tallying centre at Bomas of Kenya, commission's documents show.

The money was paid to four Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) that were contracted to provide the crucial service.

This is according to documents tabled before National Assembly Public Accounts Committee chaired by nominated MP John Mbadi.

From the documents, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission engaged Safaricom at a cost of Sh370 million, Airtel at a contract sum of Sh175.5 million and Telkom, whose quotation was Sh191.9 million.

The commission also had a contract with the Osta Tech/ Safa-IEC Telecom (Thuraya) to provide network at Sh.201.9 million.

Details have also emerged of threats by MNOs to disconnect results transmission over Sh601 million days to the August 9 polls.

The operators had given a quotation of Sh939 million to KIEMS results transmission for 2022 general election.

The amount was more than Sh338 million IEBC had budgeted for to transmit the election results.

The electoral agency was initially basing its budget on the 2017 election quotations.

This means the cost of transmitting results rose almost three fold over a five-year period.

IEBC chief executive Hussein Murjan in a letter dated July 22, 2022 – 17 days to the election - pleaded with then Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani to bridge the deficit to avoid the disruption that would have dented the integrity of the polls.

“The MNOs have threatened to disconnect our data centre and LAN WAN 1 networks which is key infrastructure for result transmission in the upcoming General Elections,” Marjan’s letter reads.

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

LAN is a computer network established within a small geographic area, for instance, a house, office or buildings and allows users to transfer data faster.

WAN is a computer network that covers a broad geographical area and comparatively slower in data transfer rate.

Section 39 (1c) of the Elections Act No 24 of 2011 requires the commission to electronically transmit presidential results from polling stations to the constituency tallying centre and to the national tallying centre.

Despite the threats by the mobile network providers to disrupt transmission, Treasury did not release the cash, forcing the commission to reallocate its budget to forestall the potential crisis.

The electoral agency had a budget of Sh338 million, consisting of Sh203 million allocated in 2021-22 financial year and Sh135 million allocated in 2022-23.

“The budgeted amount was based on the 2017 general elections expenditure. The MNOs quoted Sh939,563,682 leaving a deficit of Sh601,029,114 for the provision of KIEMs results transmission network for 2022 General Election,” Marjan explained in the letter.

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