Companies seeking multi-billion naira contracts from INEC for the supply of computer hardware and software that would be used in the voters’ registration exercise are being scrutinized by the EFCC, Daily Trust learnt in Abuja yesterday.

The Independent National Electoral Commission has budgeted about N74 billion to buy 120,000 direct data capturing machines, train staff and pay honoraria for the compilation of the voters’ register, ahead of the general elections coming up in January.

INEC referred the eight contractors bidding to supply the machines to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for integrity check and other scrutiny, a senior official of the electoral commission told Daily Trust.

The companies being screened for the contracts are Resourcery, Image Technologies, Zinox, Google, Basmak, Joint Komputer Company, Dimension Data and Pacific Millennium.

An official said INEC chairman Professor Attahiru Jega asked the EFCC to vet the companies further, after an earlier screening by the State Security Service (SSS) last week.

Among the criteria to be used in screening the companies are technical know-how, integrity of the company and its directors, financial capacity and previous similar jobs done.

Jega had said last month that contractors supplied substandard machines for the 2006 voters’ registration, which was part of the reasons why the register was riddled with too many problems.

To avoid a repeat of this, an official said, the commission is now subjecting potential suppliers of the machines to intense scrutiny.

Spokesman for EFCC Femi Babafemi, when contacted yesterday, said he did not hear about the vetting of the INEC contractors by the time he closed from work.

Jega had also vowed to bring integrity into the electoral commission, and told officials to move along that line.

“People are not finding it easy now because the chairman is very strict with things, especially the resident electoral commissioners who used to have a field day during any election. They are seriously complaining about the man,” a source in INEC told Daily Trust.

When our reporter visited the INEC headquarters in Abuja yesterday, hordes of hopeful contractors were seen hanging around offices of top management officials.

The Federal Government last week approved the release of N87.7 billion to the commission for the conduct of the voters’ registration exercise and other election-related matters, and an official said the funds were credited to the commission’s accounts yesterday.

Culled from Daily Trust.

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