Firm: Au­dit shows no ma­nip­u­la­tion of pres­i­den­tial poll data

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - NATIONAL NEWS -

An au­dit of the elec­tronic sys­tem used to tally votes in Kenya’s can­celled pres­i­den­tial poll showed no ma­nip­u­la­tion of data, the French bio­met­rics firm that sup­plied the sys­tem told AFP on Fri­day.

Op­po­si­tion leader Raila Odinga has ac­cused the com­pany, Ot-mor­pho, of be­ing com­plicit in al­leged rig­ging of the election, which was de­clared null and void by the coun­try’s Supreme Court due to “ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties and il­le­gal­i­ties” in the trans­mis­sion of re­sults.

While the court has yet to de­liver its fi­nal judg­ment de­tail­ing what went wrong, Ot-mor­pho said an “in-depth au­dit” of the sys­tem showed the op­po­si­tion’s claims about hack­ing to be un­true. In a let­ter to the French govern­ment, Odinga ac­cused Ot-mor­pho of al­low­ing unau­tho­rised ac­cess to its servers and ma­nip­u­lat­ing the trans­mis­sion of re­sults.

The com­pany’s chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Fred­eric Beylier told AFP that the au­dit, un­der­taken with help from ex­ter­nal ex­perts from se­cu­rity soft­ware com­pa­nies, had shown the sys­tem “in no way suf­fered ma­nip­u­la­tion of data, at­tacks, at­tempts to pen­e­trate the sys­tem or any­thing of that kind.”

Ot-mor­pho sup­plied the 45,000 tablets used to iden­tify vot­ers bio­met­ri­cally and an as­so­ci­ated sys­tem used to trans­mit the re­sults of votes counted by elec­toral of­fi­cials as well as a pho­to­graph of the pa­per form 34A on which votes were tal­lied.

De­lays in the scan­ning of these forms — which Ot-mor­pho put down to lack of 3G cov­er­age in some parts of Kenya — were among the prob­lems raised by the op­po­si­tion.

The op­po­si­tion had also claimed an al­go­rithm was in­tro­duced into the sys­tem to ma­nip­u­late the re­sults as they streamed in.

“We ob­vi­ously checked if there could have been ques­tion­able ma­nip­u­la­tions by any au­tho­rised or unau­tho­rised per­sons and can con­firm there was no ma­nip­u­la­tion of data that could raise ques­tions,” said Mr Beylier.

The com­pany said it had trans­mit­ted all its logs to the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral and Bound­aries Com­mis­sion, and was will­ing to par­tic­i­pate in another ex­ter­nal au­dit un­der the IEBC’S au­thor­ity.

In court, the op­po­si­tion ar­gued that many forms 34A, once re­ceived, were un­signed, lacked the req­ui­site se­cu­rity fea­tures or con­tained ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties.

But with­out the full rul­ing from the court, it is un­clear to what ex­tent this in­flu­enced the out­come of the election.

In­cum­bent Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta was as­cribed 54 per cent of the vote be­fore be­ing stripped of his vic­tory.

It also re­mains un­clear whether the re­sults could have been ma­nip­u­lated be­fore be­ing en­tered into the elec­tronic trans­mis­sions sys­tem, an­a­lysts said.

Beylier slammed a cam­paign of threats and in­tim­i­da­tion against the com­pany and its em­ploy­ees, in­sist­ing it had car­ried out its job in “com­plete po­lit­i­cal neu­tral­ity”. “Some peo­ple are try­ing to make us the scape­goat of the po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in Kenya and we don’t in­tend to play that role,” he said. He re­ferred ques­tions on whether the com­pany’s sys­tems would be used in fresh elec­tions planned for Oc­to­ber 17 to the IEBC.

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