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Bucharest
November 13, 2019
POLITICS

AEP spends approx. EUR 2 M on SIVECO and ASSESCO vote count software without tendering

The counting and processing of the votes in the presidential election on 2 and 16 November will cost a total of RON 7.9 M including VAT, the contract being awarded by the Standing Electoral Authority (AEP) not through tendering, but after direct negotiations, to the association of ASSECO SEE and SIVECO Romania, the same SIVECO whose name is associated with a resounding case of tax evasion leading to company President Irina Socol being arrested this past September.
In the last years the vote count is done in keeping with the same algorithm: the votes are counted ballot by ballot, the per-candidate total is filled in a report. All such reports are then scanned and introduced into a STS-secured system that includes computers and scanners from the National Statistics Institute.
The data is then imported into an application that announces the winner. Although things seem to have been done more or less in the same way in the past ten years, with every new election the Government spends an extra million of euro on a new software package. This year it has happened again. The electronic vote counting for both the first round and the runoff election was won by the association of ASSECO SEE and SIVECO, for EUR 1.8 M. The contract was awarded by the Standing Electoral Authority after negotiations without a notice of participation. The explanation: the Government allocated the money much too late which made tendering procedures and software testing impossible in due time.
Most of the EUR 1.8 M will cover the maintenance of the existing count system the state claims not to be able to provide itself as it has not trained programmers and the necessary technical staff able to make sure the application runs smoothly everywhere in the country.
Political consultant Cozmin Gusa said live on Realitatea TV Saturday night that the votes in the presidential election would be counted by a company under the control of a person close to one of the candidates. The votes will be counted and controlled by ASSECO SEE and SIVECO Romania. Sebastian Ghita is the man behind ASSECO SEE. In addition, SIVECO has been Ghita in the last two years, Gusa explained. ‘It is no novelty that Sebastian Ghita is involved with the vote counting process, it happened last year too. Ghita continues this spic story of elections in Romania, a dodgy vote monitoring. This time the votes will be counted by a company controlled by a lady who is on remand awaiting trial, SIVECO is one of the partners. We no longer have the guarantee that the election will be controlled and votes will be counted according to democratic principles and fairly. Obviously, the fact that we have a phylum of partisan interests in the vote monitoring this election makes me extremely circumspect about what is being prepared for us. The involvement of people from the intelligence becomes evident. We cannot claim this election is valid because one cannot validate it as long as people like the Sebi Ghita – Irina Socol duo monitor the votes that guarantee this election’, Cozmin Gusa said on Realitatea TV.
Contacted by REALITATEA TV, Sebastian Ghita said he had nothing to do with ASSECO SEE and all allegations and fears of electoral fraud were without support in reality.
‘These claims you have made on Realitatea TV are very similar to those of Vadim Tudor many years ago. We are a few hours before the election and what you are doing is quite serious. You should keep a certain distance between suspicion and accusations. Asseco See is the biggest company in Poland. We wish we could control that company. Unfortunately, we have not been able to build a company like that. Secondly, I can tell you that a certain gentleman, Tinel Petre’s brother was a director in that company. Asseco See was far from any suspicion of corruption in Romania. As for Mrs. Socol, she is an admirable lady I respect, a symbol and a role model. The vote count takes place in every polling station and is done by a commission. The votes are counted by representatives of all political parties, they all have their own observers. The votes are not counted by a software or by a company. As we were told, DNA supervises this election. I believe what you are doing is a mistake and none of your allegations is true. It is not my software. Since 2007, I have participated in every election process. Every county electoral bureau is equipped with a computer. The representatives of political parties at a county level together with a judge check if the people at the polling station have computers. After the report is signed, it is introduced into the computer. I am qualified programmer. Your allegations and fears have no support in reality and this everlasting question will finally disappear. I have no connection with Asseco See. No one I know has anything to do with that company’, Sebastian Ghita said.

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