The Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) has finally responded to allegations made by some sector of the public that the Commission is involved in some foul play during the ongoing voters registration exercise.
It can be recalled that the first phase of the process which started on 14th September this year ended on 17th September 2022 and begins its second phase on 20th September to 4th October 2022. Both phases are clouded with allegations of foul play from ECSL staff.
The Chief Electoral Commissioner for the ECSL, Mohamed Kenuwui Konneh revealed that in the first phase they had challenges which they shared with stakeholders, adding that they are pleased that they have met those challenges maintaining how they look forward to more positive engagements with stakeholders and other partners including political parties.
He said the Commission’s Situation Room has been active receiving calls from all over the country and will continue to provide that service throughout the registration period reminding the public that the contact number remain the same: 838 on Africell, Qcell, and Orange on toll free access.
He informed further that all other action points such as charging of the equipment (VVK, VIU, SOLAR BATTERY), first time voters have been addressed.
He also stated how they have put in place a generator hire scheme, bike hire and they have updated the VVK to capture all first-time voters who will be 18 years old on 24 June 2023.
The Chief Commissioner said his attention has been drawn to some misinformed allegations against it regarding the procurement of voter registration equipment and systems.
He made clarifications that the ECSL carried out two separate and distinct procurement activities using the International Competitive Bidding (ICB) processes with regards to the supply of 2,000 high-specifications laptop computers of 2 terabyte storage capacity and accessories including 2,000 fingerprint scanners, 2,000 USB drives, 2000 laptop carrying boxes etc, supply of voter registration software to verify and confirm registrants who present themselves for voter registration by using biometric authentication and supply of 1,850 portable solar-powered generators.
It was stated that the ICB procurement processes required international bidders not registered in Sierra Leone to provide evidence of business partnerships with businesses that are registered in Sierra Leone adding that local bidders who are registered and based in Sierra Leone were not required to meet that requirement.
He said it was ensured that the evaluation of bids received followed the standard procurement stages of evaluation which were Preliminary, Technical and Financial evaluations.
He said it further ensured that only bids that had successfully gone through the Preliminary and Technical evaluations were allowed to be evaluated at the financial evaluation stage.
At the financial evaluation stage, he said the ECSL selected the ‘Most Responsive Bidder’ with the lowest price for the above-mentioned procurement activities.
He continued that as a mandatory requirement, the National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA) endorsed the evaluation decisions of ECSL regarding the above-mentioned procurement activities.
He re-assured the public of the Commission’s commitment to uphold its guiding principles and to continue to adhere to all applicable laws and regulations regarding its procurement activities.