Three Employees of Smartmatic, a company that was accused by the Trump team of interfering with the 2020 elections, have been arrested by Kenyan police.
The personnel, who were not named are employee of Smartmatic International BV, were taken into custody on Thursday July 21 at JKIA international airport in Nairobi, on arrival from Venezuela.
IEBC (The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission) boss, Wafula Chebukati said the arrests could jeopardise preparations of the upcoming polls.
“The commission wishes to inform the public that the arrest and continued holding of the personnel has the inevitable effect of hampering the deployment of technology in the forthcoming general election. Technology plays a central role in elections and the commission wonders what the intention behind the holding of the technical personnel is meant to achieve.”
Reports indicate that the personal were arrested after being found with several rolls of election-related stickers in their luggage upon landing at JKIA.
They have since been released although the Police Spokesperson Bruno shioso has said that the arrest, impounding and subsequent investigations into the materials were necessitated by the sensitivity of election material and that the correct procedure and handling of the material had not been followed.
Shioso further stated that the stickers were not accompanied by an IEBC official and declared as required by law.
Chebukati, the IEBC Boss has however said that their release was conditional as they have to appear before the OCS Anti-Terrorism Unit on July 26, which inevitably will affect the performance of their duties.
The arrest and subsequent release of the smartmatic employees comes barely a few months after the secretariat of William Ruto a presidential candidate in the August 9 polls had said there was a plot to rig the August polls.
Smartmatic is a company that was accussed by the Trump team of interfering with the 2020 elections. The company has been contracted by IEBC to provide technology services during the 2022 general elections.
Smartmatic has been at the center of election controversies in several countries including the United States, Venezuela, and the Philippines.
In the Philippines, the firm faced accusations of manipulating the Vice-President results in the 2016 polls.
The company is currently suing Fox News for $2.7 billion for defamation.
The Kenyan general elections are set to take place on August 9, 2022. It is unclear what effect, if any, the arrest of the Smartmatic employees will have on the elections.
As the election date nears polls indicate that Raila Odinga’s Azimio alliance is in the lead with a close contest between William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza alliance.
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