Police spokesman, Bruno Shioso has confirmed that the three Venezuelan nationals arrested at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) had sensitive election materials transported as personal effects and have since been freed and materials released to IEBC after verification.
According to Shioso, the three were arrested because proper procedure was not followed in the transportation of the election materials.
“There is a procedure to be followed by IEBC in transporting such materials, and they were not declared nor accompanied by any official from the electoral commission,” Shioso said.
The three officials from Smartmatic International B.V. were arrested on arrival at the airport after failing to explain how they were delivering sensitive election materials contrary to security and government protocol.
The recent reaction comes after the electoral commission for the immediate release of three foreigners who arrived Thursday from Venezuela.
“The commission is concerned about this unjustified intimidation, harassment and blackmail and demands the immediate release of the three employees of Smartmatic International B.V.,” IEBC chair, Wafula Chebukati said.
Chebukati said IEBC has a legal contract with Smartmatic International B.V., the firm contracted to supply technology materials for the August 9 General Election and does not understand why police detained its officials.
Smartmatic International B.V. was contracted to supply, deliver, install, test, commission, support and maintain the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS) kits, which will be deployed in the election.
Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai is set to address a Press Conference on election security preparedness later Friday morning to also comment on the matter.
The arrest of the officials comes days after reports that
there were plans to rig the election, with fingers pointed at the Kenya Kwanza coalition.
Moses Wetangula of Ford Kenya was accused of having links with foreigners or a foreign company involved in the supply of election materials.