Three employees of Smartmatic International B.V, the company procured by the electoral commission IEBC, to provide technology for the August 9th General Election were arrested on Thursday at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati confirmed the arrest which he termed as “unjustified intimidation, harassment and blackmail”.
“The three personnel, who are employees of Smartmatic International B.V., were arrested upon arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport from Venezuela. This is despite the Commission Secretary/CEO explaining to the security authorities that the three personnel were in the country to execute a lawful contract relating to the deployment of technology in elections,” said Chebukati in a statement issued on Thursday night.
However, reports indicate that the three Venezuelans were arrested after being found with several rolls of election-related stickers in their luggage upon landing at JKIA.
In his statement, IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati claimed that the three Smartmatic International were detained at a “solitary hideout” without justification.
“The brazen decision of the security authorities to arrest, detain and confine in a solitary hideout the three personnel without justification, is an exhibition of intimidation on hardworking persons who are only keen to deliver a robust technology infrastructure for conduct of a credible, secure and verifiable election,” said Chebukati.
The IEBC Chairman demanded the immediate release of the three officials, warning that their further detention could interfere with preparations for the polls which are 17 days away.
“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.
The Commission is concerned about this unjustified intimidation, harassment and blackmail whatsoever and demands the immediate release of the three employees of Smartmatic International B.V,” said Chebukati.