Home>News>MIRU’s defense rebuffed by Democracy Watch, cites reports of international observers as proof of tech failures

MIRU’s defense rebuffed by Democracy Watch, cites reports of international observers as proof of tech failures

Democracy Watch

Election watchdog ‘Democracy Watch’, which had earlier warned Comelec of Miru System’s disastrous performance in the recent Iran and Congo elections, had rejected what they described as the firm’s ‘blanket denials’.

According to a statement issued by Democracy Watch “facts and evidence must be the sole qualifier in this process and not simply statements in response by the proponents.” Miru Systems Co. Ltd. from South Korea is the lone bidder in the ongoing procurement process.

Citing a report by the Carter Center, an international election observation mission that deployed long-term observers across Congo, the election watchdog said that the center confirmed the technical failures, stating that “… the quality of the voter register has been questioned by numerous interlocutors, who have cited concerns about the quality and transparency of the process.”

“The Center also stated that observers in around 22% of polling stations witnessed technical problems and prolonged periods of machine inoperability which led to the closure of some polling stations. This has led to the Congo election commission extending voting for another day,” the report said.

The elecdtion watchdog further presented statements coming from Congo’s own watchdog groups, the Election Observation Mission of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) and the Church of Christ in Congo (ECC) which said that “preliminary election report gathered from 60,000 nationwide volunteers mentioned that 45.1% of the polling stations experienced problems with their electronic voting machines.”

“Breakdowns and technical errors were rampant, thereby delaying voting and creating confusion among voters,” the Congolese groups said.

The Democracy Watch also took exception to Miru’s statement that the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) had declared the elections as “fair and successful.”

The poll watchdog said that it needs to be confirmed because of its “inconsistency with the published statement of UNAMI that “it will not observe or monitor the elections and is therefore not in a position to undertake an assessment of the manner in which the elections are conducted.”

In addition, the group points out that the deputy chief of UNAMI, Claudio Cordone had clarified that “the role of UNAMI is limited… and advisory,” and that it doesn’t have an observatory or monitoring role, as it is the responsibility of the Iraqi institutions.

“Aside from these technical failures, reports have begun to surface about Miru’s bid submission allegedly lacking in audited financial statements, initials, and omnibus sworn affidavits, deficiencies that have resulted in outright disqualifications in the past but have seemingly been overlooked on this occasion. Some quarters are also objecting to the composition of the Miru joint venture which includes a certain San Jose Construction Company, whose own charter prohibits it from engaging in activities outside its field,” the group said.

With these “alarming reports” from independent sources, Democracy Watch had once again urged the Comelec to “deeply investigate these issues that might affect the integrity of our 2025 midterm elections.”

Notwithstanding the controversies hounding the procurement for the 2025 National and Local Elections, the group reiterated its commitment to work with the SBAC and the COMELEC in ensuring the integrity and transparency of this bidding process, saying that such is “critical to the legitimacy of our democratic institutions.”

Miru had said that the allegations of election failures due to Miru’s technology are false, as the company designs, develops and manufactures secure electoral systems that are of international standard.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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