French technology firm Idemia Securities, formerly OT-Morpho, has moved to court seeking a review of a 10-year ban recently imposed on it by the National Assembly.
MPs on April 23 amended the report of the watchdog Public Accounts Committee on the audited accounts of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to declare that the electoral body’s contract with IDEMIA had violated the Companies Act.
The legislators particularly censured IDEMIA for entering into contracts related to the 2017 General Election with the IEBC without being registered in Kenya or having local operations as required by law.
The French firm wants the court to declare that the regulation restricting participation of foreign firms came into force three months after it signed the contract.
“The Regulations operationalising the local registration by a foreign company was published by the Registrar of Companies on the 30th of June, 2017, under Legal Notice No 103 of 2017: whereas the subject contract between the IEBC and the Applicant had been executed on the 31st of March, 2017,” IDEMIA says in the court papers.
“The 1st Respondent’s (the National Assembly) actions are a most unjust retrospective application of a vague and uncertain law.”
The technology firm wants the court to issue orders quashing the report as well as the recommendation of Parliament.
It also wants the court to restrain the National Assembly, its Speaker Justin Muturi and Clerk Michael Sialai from “summarily and arbitrarily” directing the IEBC to recover money already paid for the tender.
The IEBC 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.
“The Applicant has since been part-paid for the service rendered and performed under the contract with the IEBC, but a substantial part of the contract sum remains outstanding,” it states.
The parliamentary report directed the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to investigate the firm and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to prefer charges against its directors for breach of the local registration law.
The company has changed names thrice in the past five years during which it got lucrative deals in the country.
Antoine Grenier, IDEMIA’s senior VP for Public Security and Identity – Africa, said in a statement Tuesday “as a law-abiding corporate citizen, as soon as we have been afforded a fair opportunity to be heard, we are positive that we shall be vindicated and our legal position upheld by the court.”
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