Venezuelans in the IEBC stickers controversy to appear before anti-terror police

The three Venezuelans at the center of the IEBC controversy are expected to appear before the Anti-Terror police in the ongoing probe of the questionable electoral material in their possession. This comes just hours after the electoral agency weighed in on the trio’s issue which has caused a storm among state agencies and politicians.

The three -Jose Gregorio Camargo Castellanos, Salvador Javier Sosa Suarez, and Joel Gustavo Rodriguez Garcia are expected to report to the Anti-terror police in investigations touching on the 16 rolls of stickers confiscated at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) for 10,000 polling stations in the coming polls.

Interestingly, NTV has learned that in the eye of the storm pitting Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and the Director Criminal Investigations (DC) George Kinoti, over the three persons of interest, the trio is reportedly going about their duties as expected.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati claimed that the three has been summoned to present themselves before the Anti-Terror OCS at JKIA after release, with allegations that they were destined to be deported over the weekend over expired passports.

Chebukati on his part after a number of statement exchanges with the police on the trio has downplayed the concerns raised by the Inspector of Police (IG) Hillary Mutyambai and Kinoti on the sensitivity of the stickers recovered from the one Venezuelan, that also dragged his two colleagues.

“It is important to note that the stickers are non-strategic election materials. The stickers were printed based on the details of the gazette notice published on July 1st, 2022,” asserted Chebukati.

He states that the information can be accessed on the commission’s website, even as Kinoti digs in, questioning why the stickers were not declared upon arrival in the country and why IEBC didn’t deem it fit to inform the authorities.

“The stickers contain information on the polling station, polling center, ward, constituency, and county as well as a unique barcode,” says the chairman.

The chairman explained: “For easy identification of the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS), Smartmatic is required to provide stickers to aid in labeling each of the kits for the purpose of packaging and dispatch to all polling stations.”

Kinoti in his comprehensive statement released on Sunday contradicted Chebukati’s earlier position that the three are employees of Smartmatic.

This was a follow-up to an earlier statement by Chebukati, calling out Mutyambai for giving false information to Kenyans on the status of the three.

“We are challenging Chebukati to out his house in order and walk the talk of delivering in his own words, free fair, and credible 2022 polls. He should desist from intimating and blackmailing other equally responsible players,” said Kinoti in response to Chebukati’s statement.

Smartmatic International holdings, according to Chebukati entered into a legal contract on November 25th for the supply, delivery, installation, testing, commissioning, support, and maintenance of the KIEMS.

Seamless Limited Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullahi Mohammed the man now in the spotlight told NTV that he is the local agent of Smartmatic has the three foreigners are its employees.

“I am the local service partner of Smartmatic international holdings B.V Kenya. I invited the three to Kenya to implement a project for the IEBC critical to the August 9th polls,” said Mohammed.

He says the foreigners were to be in the country during the project implementation period and to stay for six months, requesting a single-entry visa.

“I recorded a statement with the DCI JKIA police. I shared all the particulars inviting the three to Kenya,” said, adding that he is waiting for directions from Smartmatic with regards to the latest developments.

Chebukati reveals that the deployment of the KIEMS kits is currently underway.

In a paid-up advertisement in the local dailies, Chebukati has sought to set the record straight, insisting that the three foreigners’ engagement in the electoral process is above board.

Chebukati guarantees that the electoral materials have not been compromised and reassured Kenyans that the commission is committed to delivering free, fair, and credible polls that meet the people’s democratic aspirants.

“Smartmatic has supplied 14, 100 additional KIEMS kits to the commission, bringing the total number of kits that are in good working condition to 55,100,” states Chebukati.

This, the chairman says adds to the commission’s inventory which stood at 45,000 KIEMS kits, out of which 41,000 were in good working condition before the Smartmatic deal.

He adds: “Preparation and dispatch of the KIEMS kits for the general election is currently ongoing. Each kit is loaded with the electronic Voter Identification and the Results Transmission system software, SIM cards of network operators as well as SD cards containing registered voters’ biographic and biometric data for each polling station.

Kenya Kwanza camp has called out President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government for trying to interfere with the independence of IEBC and threatened to accompany the trio to anti-terror police to record statements.

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