Ahead Of 2023 Elections, Fuss Engulf NEC Over Biometric Voter Registration exercise Awarded To Laxton 

Cllr. P. Teplah Reeves, Co-Chairperson, NEC

As Liberians continue to question the credibility of the National Elections Commission (NEC) as to whether the team at this commission is capable to sincerely conduct the upcoming elections, fuss seems to engulfed that electoral body, pondering many Liberians as to the team at this commission credibility.

The Co-Chairperson of the Commission, Commissioner Teeplah Reeves has raised an alarm over the alleged unilateral decision of the Chairperson of the Commission, Madam Davidettal Brown-Lansana in selection of Laxton Group to supply biometric voter registration hardware and software to NEC.

According to a local radio station report today, Madam Reeves has expressed dissatisfaction as to the decision taken by the Chairperson without the alleged input of other members of the Board of Commissioners, a situation that has created serious doubts about the credibility of the head of NEC.

Recently the National Elections Commission sent a request for “No Objection” to Liberia’s Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC), which if granted will lead to the award of the contract, The New Dawn reports. The request notes PPCC’s recommendation to select amongst the remaining bidders after a previous request by the NEC to award the contract to Ekemp was rejected twice.

The contract is worth $12 million dollars, and involves the supply of hardware and software to enroll voters and issue cards that can be used in voter verification.

The process and role of NEC Chairperson Davidetta Browne Lansanah are roundly criticized, meanwhile, by an unnamed commissioner in a report from the Liberian Observer. The anonymous official suggests Lansanah should have recused herself from the process amid widespread confusion and concern about the process.

Local media have questioned the procurement process itself and the NEC’s role in it. Liberia is also dealing with a slowdown in enrollments for its national ID card, though the National Identification Registry head says the problem is temporary.

A recent update to the elections timetable says the voter registration process will begin on December 15.

Laxton Group CEO Lyle Charles Laxton tells Biometric Update in an email that his company has not been notified about any decision, and that misinformation has been observed in local media reporting of the full affair.

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