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Elections Clears Air on Tender Process

Elections Clears Air on Tender Process
June 20
11:00 2017

In  recent days, social media has been flooded with conspiracy theories about a Pakistani company hired by the Fijian Elections Office to set up an Electoral Management System software.

The Fijian Elections Office awarded a tender to  NADRA Technologies Limited  to provide an Electoral Management System software.

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem yesterday clarified how the company came to be awarded the tender and what system they have set up for the Fijian Elections Office.

The Tender was advertised on 14 November 2015 on the FEO website as well as both dailies. The tenders closed at 3pm on Thursday 17 December 2015.

Five companies applied and four companies were shortlisted. Of five companies that submitted tenders, two were local companies and both were shortlisted.

Mr Saneem said: “It is unfortunate to note the speculations that have appeared online especially in terms of the level of vindictiveness shown by some commentators.

“The Fijian Elections Office is an independent organisation and as per our finance policies, any project that may cost over $100,000 is advertised for public tender. We do not have any discrimination against international bidders against local bidders. In the world of elections, there are various products, services and technical experts that may not necessarily exist in Fiji and therefore it is important to keep an open tender process.

“Following the review of the 2014 Election Operations, it was concluded that it was necessary for the FEO to migrate to an electronic logistics management system so that critical detailed aspects of election management could be handled with greater accuracy and efficiency. The FEO also notes that it is a default practice in most developed countries for the election management bodies to have an Electronic Election Management System.”

1. Who chose NADRA? Who were on the panel? Why was NADRA chosen?

According to the Fijian Elections Office, they convened a Tender Committee compromised of independent assessors and executive level staff.

Tender Board was established headed by the FEO Director Operations, Anaseini Senimoli as well as a Technical Evaluation Committee of 5 IT persons.

“The 2 committees carried out a rigorous evaluation process as per the FEO Finance Policy before awarding the Tender. The FEO internal Auditor as well as a representative from the New Zealand High Commission were observers in the process at various stages.”

Following the FEO’s tender and procurement process, FEO signed an agreement with NADRA Technologies Limited [NADRA] to develop and deploy this customized software that will manage polling operations from a central location.

“NADRA is one of the leading system integrators based in Islamabad, Pakistan. The Company has, over the years successfully implemented several customizable solutions for identification, e-governance, and document security for its corporate and public sector clients.

“NADRA previously developed a machine-readable, E-Passport System in Kenya to assist with citizen registration, including biometric-data capture, data verification and validation using Automated Fingerprint Identification System technology,” Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem said.

Kenya’s Chief Election Commissioner, Issack Hassan, spoke highly of NADRA’s capabilities when he was in Fiji for the Pacific Electoral Networks Meeting in May, 2016.

NADRA has also worked with other organisations, such as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR] and helped them develop biometric Proof of Registration Cards to serve as identification for refugees.

“In accordance with FEO’s tender requirement, NADRA has engaged GEM (Fiji) Limited to serve as the local partner for this project and provide local ongoing technical support.”

2. How much is NADRA costing?

“$350,000.00 (USD)” (F$715,293).

While not confirmed by the Fijian Elections Office, it is understood that the cost submitted by local companies was nearly F$2million.

3. Who is funding this?

“New Zealand government through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.”

4. What role will NADRA play for the 2018 General Election?

“NADRA will not have any role to play in the 2018 General Election. NADRA has set up the Electoral Management System software for the Fijian Elections Office. The project is now complete and NADRA will not be involved in the implementation of the use of the software, unless their technical expertise is required to assist where needed.

“The purpose of this project is to deliver a system that will help manage the day to day operations required for an election and eliminate any opportunities for error. The EMS will not only enable us to better manage the complex data that Election Management Bodies have to deal with, it will also provide a common platform for information sharing across various departments of the FEO.”

5. Being blown out of proportion: Mr Saneem said:

“It is unfortunate that without any research this matter has been blown out of proportion. I would like to thank the formal media for making necessary enquiries before publication. It appears that some persons are releasing official documents on social media in an attempt to create confusion.”

There had also been some allegations against the company back in Pakistan.

However, the company sued former Pakistani Opposition leader  Chaudhry Nisar and others for defamations for 10 billion rupees. 

Edited by Naisa Koroi


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