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French Supplier of Kenya Vote System Says Being Scapegoated

A French digital-security company whose equipment was used in Kenya’s presidential election reiterated that its systems weren’t tampered with to rig the outcome, calling the accusations an attempt to shift blame for a vote the nation’s Supreme Court nullified.

Bloomberg reports that OT-Morpho said an internal audit of its equipment conducted after the Supreme Court annulled the Aug. 8 presidential election found no foul play.

The company provided two electronic systems that identified Kenyan voters and transmitted election results from almost 41,000 polling stations to a central tallying center.

The opposition National Super Alliance won a court petition this month to have the outcome annulled, saying President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory had been brought about by computer-aided rigging. A rerun of the vote, a first in Africa, is scheduled for Oct. 17.

“We do not intend to become the scapegoat of the political situation in Kenya,” Chief Operating Officer Frederic Beylier said Friday in a phone interview. “We do not accept that the reputation of OT-Morpho and its employees is tainted in any way by these allegations. This has to come to an end.”

The company is suing unidentified people in both French and Kenyan courts for damaging the company’s “reputation and honor,” he said.

OT-Morpho said in a statement Friday it’s willing to open its system for additional scrutiny by an independent body under the authority of Kenya’s election commission.

Opposition candidate Raila Odinga’s five-party alliance urged the French government last week to investigate Paris-based Safran SA and its relations with electoral officials who it alleged may have “acted in complicity and connived to undermine the will of the people of Kenya.”

Safran sold its digital-security unit in May to Advent International, owner of Colombes, France-based Oberthur Technologies SA, and the renamed company is called OT-Morpho.

Odinga’s alliance said the company’s system violated Kenya’s electoral laws by “failing to comply with the prescribed format of result management data.” His coalition has said its participation in the rerun depends on authorities meeting conditions including replacing personnel at the election commission.

“We’ve conducted two in-depth audits of our system with the support of external and reputable companies,” Beylier said. “We refute any allegations of piracy or fraudulent intrusion into our system.”


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