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OT-Morpho awarded sh 6bn fresh ID registration deal despite being under investigation over elections irregularities

After the Government announced plans to to have the almost 50 million Kenyans registered digitally including their DNAs, guess who they have hired to supply the digital kits- OT Morpho.

Rings a bell? This is the same firm that was hired by- and further conspired with- the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to bungle the elections. The French firm gained public attention after IEBC awarded it a Sh6 billion tender to supply voter identification and results transmission kits (KIEMS) ahead of the 2017 polls.

The firm refused to open the servers during the elections petition forcing the opposition coalition NASA while teaming up with civil society organizations in France to open charges against French firms Safran and Morpho, which supplied election equipment to the IEBC.

“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 the Elections Act and the Elections Offenses Act of the Laws of Kenya,” Raila Odinga had wrote to the French Government.

He said the purpose of the letter “is to urge the French government to initiate administrative and where possible criminal investigations against the said companies and their officials, specifically Mr Laurent Lambert, head of project Kenya and Mr Axel Gaucher, head of analytics.”

With the Country set to start mass registration of fingerprints on March 18 in a multi-million shilling drive that brings back the French firm to do another high-profile business with the government.

Interior principal secretary Karanja Kibicho said the French technology firm, which late last year re-branded to Idemia Identity and Security France or simply IDEMIA, has already supplied 31,500 biometric kits for the registration set to last 45 days.

“We have all the kits. They have been supplied by IDEMIA but their software has been prepared locally,” said Dr Kibicho, adding the State expects up to 50 million Kenyans to visit nearest offices of assistant chiefs for the biometric.

Fired IEBC chief executive Ezra Chiloba allegedly single-handedly procured the services of the French firm.

Kibicho told the media that the entire biometric registration will cost ANOTHER Sh6 billion.

It is estimated that half the budget will be spent directly on the kits with bulk of the remaining portion going into paying the 50,000 registration officers.

The registration officers will work with the assistant chiefs in collecting basic information like bio data, citizenship, family tree, marital and employment status alongside the fingerprints of every citizen.

Kibicho said the exercise to be piloted from February 15 will however not entail collection of DNA samples or information on physical location (GPS coordinates), even though recent changes in law allows the State to do so.

At the end of the exercise, every Kenyan will be issued with a single digital (Huduma) card to be used in accessing government services.

The question weighing heavily on the minds of Kenyans is what is so special about this firm engrossed in fraud that Kenyan government cannot keep hands of it?

Morpho notoriety did not start with Kenya. September 7 2012 when Safran Morpho that had been identified by Canadian Government to supply Canada with 16,000 Biometric kits had been fined by a Paris Court after it was found guilty of bribing public officials in Nigeria to win a Sh17 billion identity cards production tender.

The crime Safran Morpho committed in Nigeria places it in the same scandalous forum with Smith and Ouzman of UK that was the architect of chicken-gate scandal in Kenya.

Gerard Vouillon / Morpho / Safran

Scandals didn’t end with those two. In 2016, Safran Morpho would find itself enmeshed in the US Russia hacking scandal that saw Donald Trump win the electoral college votes despite losing the popular votes to Hillary Clinton. To date, the FBI is still investigating the possibilities that Russians hacked the US electoral technology in order to aid Donald Trump win the elections. The involvement of Safran Morpho in the US hacking claim is being fronted on the basis that Safran Morpho is the company that supplied technologies containing Russian ‘backdoor’ that would enable the Russians gain access to US votes.

In a lawsuit newly unsealed in federal court in San Jose, the French firm, Morpho, and its parent company, Safran Group, also based in France, was accused of making “surreptitious sales of more than $1 billion in Russian technology to federal, state and local governments in the United States between 2009 and 2015 according to SF Gate.

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    Written by Aoko





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