Kenya Government To Pay Sh20 for Each Ballot Paper. – Standards Media Reports Revealed

By Our Nairobi Correspondent



A report by Standards Media of Kenya has revealed that the Kenya Government is paying more than twice the price paid by neighbours for a ballot paper, and many times the cost of printing currency notes.

At slightly over Sh20 per piece, on average, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) could have granted hefty profits to Dubai’s Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing Company.

Tanzania and Uganda spent less than Sh9.50 per ballot paper, on average.

IEBC contracted the printing firm to deliver 120 million ballot papers at a cost of Sh2.5 billion, which is in itself significantly lower than the Sh3 billion paid to the embattled British printer Smith & Ouzman nearly five years ago.

The reports reveal that Smith & Ouzman’s tender, later christened ‘Chickengate Scandal’, was inflated by 38 per cent to accommodate kickbacks for IEBC officials, and that a fair price would have been Sh1.86 billion.

“One of the cost drivers for the ballot paper is the level of security features incorporated,” commission spokesman Andrew Limo said.

Such features, he said, include generic watermarks and capabilities that would make it impossible to photocopy – which is the same technology used in the printing of currency notes.

Currency notes however are printed on cotton fiber and linen, while ballot papers are printed on plain paper.

Mr Limo conceded that the overall cost of ballot papers has been falling and promised to provide more details later.

Al Ghurair has been selected to supply ballot papers through single-sourcing, the same way that Smith & Ouzman were awarded.

Unsuccessful bidders sought the cancellation of the award won by Al Ghurair last October, but the IEBC said last week it doesn’t have enough time to start all over again.

According to the report, Tanzania spent significantly less as the unit price in its October 2015 general elections. The country paid Sh800 million for 84 million ballot papers at Sh9.50 a piece.

In Uganda, where polls were held last year, a consortium of four firms, including Paarl media of South Africa and Al Ghurair, were collectively awarded Sh1.3 billion (Uganda Sh45 billion) to print 16 million presidential poll ballot papers and nearly a similar number for other positions.

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