NZ backs process
THE New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has expressed confidence that necessary processes were followed when the tender for the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) Election Management System (EMS) was awarded.
The New Zealand Government provided the funding grant to the FEO to procure the system, that was delivered by Pakistan's National Database Registration Authority (NADRA).
But NADRA had come under fire from political parties because of reports their officials allegedly accepted bribes in return for producing fake IDs, some of which were made for suspected terrorists.
"The ministry is aware of the claims relating to the company selected by Fijian Elections Office to supply the system," a spokesperson for the New Zealand High Commission said yesterday
"However, we are confident that the EMS has been delivered in line with the contract process and that New Zealand funding has been used appropriately and for the intended purpose."
Since 2013, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has partnered with the New Zealand Electoral Commission to provide support and capacity development to the Fiji Electoral Commission and Fijian Elections Office. And New Zealand said yesterday this support included provision of $NZ950,000 ($F1.4 million) to design and implement the (EMS), including the purchase of associated hardware and other services.
"Under the contract between MFAT and the Fiji Elections Office, the procurement of the system was undertaken by the Fiji Elections Office under Fiji Government procurement rules," the spokesperson said.
"This included a requirement that the Fijian Elections Office undertake appropriate due diligence of the supplier and the system as part of its procurement process. "
NADRA beat five other companies for the tender and Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem said the tender was awarded based on the assessment by the tender board and an evaluation committee.
"A terrorism financing search was also carried out and it was all clear," he said.
Auditor-General Ajay Nand said all concerns raised regarding procurement of the EMS would be considered for the 2017 audit of the Fijian Elections Office.
Yesterday, Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry said an audit would not address the issue and the NADRA contract should be terminated.
He said the FLP was worried about fake IDs being used to vote in Fijian elections and of the possible manipulation of the system to rig the election.