5 December 2009

Mexico mulls over Smartmatic

The email read: "Hi Alek, tomorrow one of the companies in Mexico is presenting a claim against Smartmatic and they need to know if Smartmatic Holding (the one registered in the Netherlands) has modified their statement regarding their activities, where they say they are dedicated to trading real estate. According to your info, in 2005 they formed this holding company, but if they haven't modified it to include the sale and installation of voting equipment and manufacture and sale of ID cards, then they can be banned from the bid. This is what my friend's company wants to do, but they just want to make sure no change has been made to their statement of activities since 2005. Do you think you can help us in this matter? Again, thanks for all your help and patience." Upon reading it, I thought that this was a chance to make Smartmatic come clean. So I did call Amsterdam Register of Companies, and I did find out that Smartmatic has not modified its purpose. As far as records in Amsterdam show, Smartmatic International Holding B.V.'s purpose continues to be "to purchase, develop and manage property and goods."

The granting of the contract to Smartmatic is being challenged in Mexico, almost unanimously: by some of the companies that took place in the tender, by representatives from the major political parties (PRIPAN and PRD), authorities, and by the media, among others. Of particular concern the finding about Smartmatic's possible connection to the authorities granting the contract, a practice in which Smartmatic has engaged in Venezuela, Chicago, Bolivia, and the Philippines.

Furthermore, authorities have postponed signing of contract with Smartmatic, due 3 December, until the Comptroller's Office announces its decision. Worse still, Smartmatic's damage limitation attempt is also being challenged. In light of all this, Mexico would do well in sending Smartmatic packing back to Venezuela.

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