• Maibort Petit

Who's Winning the Election in News in Kenya?

Updated: Aug 10

In shocking news that should affect us all, on a global scale but especially here in the USA.


The strange case of Venezuelans linked to Smartmatic arrested in Kenya with electoral material


Maibort Petit

Freedom Voice Reports

Sin Filtros, Venezuela Politica


The participation of the electoral software company fills with doubts the electoral process called for next August 9 in the African nation.



Smartmatic
Smartmatic Election Machine

Again the name of Smartmatic resonates in the prelude to an election. As has been happening since it entered the electoral scene.


It does so in the middle of an event that throws more shadows than lights on the general elections that will be held in Kenya on August 9 and that will allow the citizens of the African nation, to elect the president of the republic, members of the National Assembly and the Senate, as well as the governors of the counties and members of the regional legislatures.


Not infrequently, since this company was established to attend the electoral processes in Venezuela, it has been involved in allegations of fraud and irregular actions. On this occasion, the alarm was set off by a report signed by George Kinoti, director of criminal investigations of the National Police Service of that country, who laid down the multiple contradictions that were seen when three Venezuelans were arrested for trying to introduce, surreptitiously, electoral material through the Nairobi airport.


 

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Election machine


These are José Gregorio Camargo Castellanos, Joel Gustavo Rodríguez García and Salvador Javier Sosa Suárez, Venezuelans from Panama, some with expired passports, but who arrived in Nairobi on different dates, carrying a large amount of electoral material, who were released on July 25 without, to date, having clarity about the facts and their why.


Video on the history of election fraud, It is in Spanish, but it has the capability for English subtitles, well worth the watch.


However, among the first press reports of the African nation, it was said that the three Venezuelans would have been hired by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to configure technological infrastructure for the elections. From that instance they would have assured that the three men are a key piece to implement the electoral technology that will allow free and fair elections. IEBC President Wafula Chebukati was recently accused of leading a process characterized by opacity. The official came out in step with the accusations:


"The commission deals with politics, strategy and supervision. That's our job; we make decisions. If it is a question of printing ballots, we tell the secretariat to look for a company (...) When it comes to printing ballots, they give us samples of how they are going to print the ballots and if they are satisfied, we tell them to proceed and print."



For Presidential elections
For Presidential elections

That is not the only complaint, as various sectors of Kenyan society are questioning the work of the IEBC and its negotiations.

"Under the umbrella of the Angaza Movement, ten civil society groups argued that IEBC was not ready, citing numerous cases in court, as well as the ambiguity surrounding the company that has been contracted to provide Kenya's Integrated Election Management Systems (Kiems) kit," reads a Note from People Daily.


The executive director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), Davis Malombe, urged the body

"to come out and speak with one voice about the numerous questions that have been asked about the electoral company Smartmatic, the firm that has been contracted to provide Kiems kits. Kenyans recently witnessed how IEBC CEO Marjan Hussein struggled to explain how they decided on this company. It became clear that this company has problems in the previous elections it made."


Malombe demanded that Chebukati make "things clear about this company."


Recently in the Philippines, three hackers were arrested who allegedly claimed that they could manipulate the election results called in that country for this year, establishing that they had a connection with a former Smartmatic employee.


The company was hired by the Elections Commission (Comelec) to take care of the automation of the elections, but again turned to Smartmatic for automated elections, but the company was shaken by controversies after the aforementioned allegations.


 

Maibort Petit is an investigative journalist born in Venezuela. She studied in Caracas, Maracaibo, Pittsburgh and Paris, France. The author is based in New York City and works for several Hispanic's media outlets. She became a voice for the Latin people in NYC, as well as having fought the censorship imposed in the Venezuelan media by the socialist government, reported on cases of where Freedoms and Rights are lost to bad government & corruption, drug trafficking and money laundering.

She is also founder of the Freedom Voice Reports, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to report on where your Freedom and Rights are threatened. To learn more.....


 


The police report

George Kinoti, director of criminal investigations (DCI) of the Kenya National Police Service, issued a report that refers to the sea of irregular events in which this event took place.


police report

It is indicated in the report that José Gregorio Camargo Castellanos left Panama on July 19, 2022, following the Istanbul-Nairobi route and arrived in the Kenyan capital on July 21, 2022 aboard Turkish Airlines flight No. TK 607.


At the time of the routine check of the luggage, the Customs agents detected in the screen monitoring, suspicious contents in the suitcase with the label of Camargo Castellanos, so they proceeded to mark it and interrogate the man who, in his answers, was incoherent and hesitant.



When asked to open his luggage, 17 rolls of electoral material were found, namely stickers corresponding to several polling stations that he said were for approximately 10,000 polling stations. All material belonging to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and related to Kenya's upcoming general election.



Another suitcase he owned contained a personal laptop, a personal monitor, five flash disks, a mobile phone and several personal computer accessories. Camargo Castellanos was immediately arrested by the authorities when the nature of the material was established, and he did not give a coherent explanation of the reason why he had it in his possession.





election materials

Camargo Castellanos said he is employed by Smartmatic International Holding B.V., which gave him the material in Panama, so that he could hand it over to Abdulahi Abdi Mohammed, CEO of Seamless Ltd, Smartmatic's local agent in Nairobi.


Kinoti warns in the report that the electoral material confiscated from Camargo Castellanos was checked as personal luggage and not as cargo in Panama; not declared to the Customs Office as required by customs laws; nor did the suspect provide documentation justifying possession of the aforementioned electoral material.


Similarly, it is indicated that José Gregorio Camargo Castellanos arrived in Kenya on a business visa by invitation, as already said, of Abdulahi Abdi Mohamed, "for work-related activities through a letter addressed to the officer in charge of the Kenyan Embassy visa section on July 18, 2022."


It was extremely striking to the authorities that Camargo Castellanos, a foreigner travelling to Nairobi, hired for such a delicate and strategic job, had no one waiting for him and, in particular, to receive sensitive confidential materials that were supposed to be in secure custody after confirmation and receipt by the procuring entity. Nor did he carry any letters or documentation indicating that he had been invited by IEBC and, as such, the materials in his possession belonged to Abdulahi Abdi Mohamed.


The report states that while the interrogation was taking place, two other Venezuelans, Joel Gustavo Rodríguez García and Salvador Javier Sosa Suárez, arrived at the airport asking about the whereabouts of Camargo Castellanos. Further investigations determined that Rodriguez Garcia and Sosa Suarez are also residents of Panama and were also invited to Kenya by Abdulahi Abdi Mohamed. The report underlines the curious fact that not nationals of this country have been hired in Panama, but three Venezuelans. It was also established that these two men, upon their arrival in Nairobi on July 15, 2022, introduced more electoral material that, then, was not detected. Therefore, they were arrested at that time.


A search was carried out in the apartment in which these men were housed and to which Camargo Castellanos would also go, and a tablet and two flash disks were seized and confiscated, which, like what was confiscated from Camargo Castellanos, was sent to the forensic laboratory for examination and analysis.


Another striking fact for the Kenyan authorities is that the three Venezuelans were carrying expired passports.


license 1

The documents were placed under investigation and that the

"suspects are not expressly designated as employees of IEBC or Smartmatic International B.V.",

but that they were invited to Kenya by the office of "a certain Abdulahi Abdi Mohamed".



The invitation letters noted that Camargo Castellanos was invited by Abdulahi Abdi Mohamed on July 18; Salvador Javier Sosa Suárez was invited on July 8, 2022; and Rodríguez García was invited on July 4, 2022. Therefore, the police established that the three men were in Kenya only for business with Abdulahi Abdi Mohamed, to whose office they had to report when they arrived in the country and not to the warehouse or offices of the IEBC. In fact, during his interrogation, Camargo Castellanos could not provide any contact other than that of the apartment in which he was reserved.


He was further asked where he should deliver the IEBC materials and said Paul Wachanga Mugo of IEBC and Javier of Smartmatic Company would collect the materials from the apartments. He was then asked if anyone was waiting to take him to the apartment, but said he was told to take a taxi to go to the apartments where his other two colleagues had booked before.


The police report makes it clear that the suspect is not an IEBC employee as alleged or insinuated by its president, the Wafula Chebukati and that everything that happened "was not by default but by design and due to the alleged foul play involved, no one, neither Abdulahi Abdi Mohamed nor anyone from his staff, was willing to be seen with the suspect in case of interception. The suspect was left to maneuver his way with the same hope, as were his other colleagues, who had successfully smuggled another 17 rolls without detection that he too would succeed."


The report indicates that Abdulahi Abdi Mohamed was questioned at the airport where he was called and when shown what was seized from the IEBC, "categorically denied having knowledge that there was any electoral material that José Gregorio Camargo Castellanos should bring. Therefore, it is peculiar for the suspect to say that it was Abdulahi Abdi Mohamed who personally employed him and invited him, arranged his visa, paid for his flight, but had no idea when this employee would arrive and what he was carrying."


The police report stresses that none of the rules set out in the law and in the contracts between IEBC and Smartmatic regarding the delivery of goods supplied outside Kenya were complied with.


In particular, none of these procedures and/or documents were complied with, so the established contract, if any, was breached.


Before the police, Marjan Hussein Marjan, executive director of IEBC, acknowledged that that instance had hired Smartmatic to provide part of the electoral material and that on July 21, 2022 he received a call from a local Smartmatic agent, who informed him that one of his employees had been arrested with such material.


The CRITICISM OF THE JIU

George Kinoti states in the report that Wafula Chebukatim, president of the IEBC, tried to disqualify the actions of the police in this event by denouncing the

"arbitrary arrest and harassment of IEBC's electoral technology personnel", which the police deny, because the law procedure was complied with. He said chebukati's claims "was an attempt aimed at intimidating and blackmailing security agencies and other stakeholders into not playing their part."


Kenoti said the IEBC president tried to make unfortunate use of the media to develop a media campaign aimed at disqualifying and lashing out at investigative agencies.


"Mr. Chebukati has not told Kenyans about the previously infiltrated election materials, namely 17 rolls of which we expected him to explain their purpose, and which subsequently arrived in the country without being declared at the airport. Nor has it warned immigration, customs or security agents of the arrival of more stickers to avoid a similar incident, if they are expected. In addition, Mr. Chebukati must also explain to Kenyans the purpose of the seized blank roll. Mr. Chebukati is also not telling Kenya the total number of stickers specified and acquired by the IEBC. He needs to tell Kenyans just as he is excited to harangue about perceived harassment to allow the public to reconcile the total number of stickers the IEBC can count from now on."


About Smartmatic

According to its website, Smartmatic was established in 2000 in the state of Florida, United States, with the aim of developing secure banking software, but then changed its focus to improve voting technology.


According to the Open Corporates portal, Smartmatic International Holding B.V. is an active status company registered with the number 04032259 in the Netherlands.


In the United States, Smartmatic USA Corp., was established on July 13, 2012 in the state of Florida under the number F12000002926, FEI/EIN number 45-4736528.


But the origin of the company is in Venezuela, being its founder Antonio Mugica and its con-founder and current president, Rogel Piñate. A company that started its operations in a house in the state of Florida and without basically any structure, obtained a millionaire contract to take care of the electoral processes during the government of Hugo Chávez. And it was precisely when the recall referendum against the president took place in 2004, when this company was given the process of automating the Venezuelan electoral system.


It is an electoral system controlled by the Venezuelan state, according to the expert Guillermo Salas, since it was established that Venezuela owns the company in charge of the design of the voting software that the voting machines carried. Since that time, Smartmatic and its system has expanded all over the world.


Since its foundation, to date, reports of fraud have not ceased in those places where the company has operated.


In Kenya itself, in 2021, Stephen Miriambo sued the IEBC demanding the cancellation of the tender for the installation of integrated election management systems and hardware equipment for the August 2022 general election, which was awarded to Smartmatic International Holding B.V on November 3, 2021.


Miriambo accused the tender of contravening the Kenyan constitution and warned that it risked plunging the country into heavy political, financial and economic losses. Similarly, he said that the IEBC "did not provide for margins of preference in favor of local contractors and/or citizens as stipulated in the Constitution and the Law on Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets of 2015"


 

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