NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 24 – A corruption and abuse of office case against suspended Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chief Executive Officer James Oswago kicked off on Monday.
IEBC Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Director Dismas Ogondi was the first to take the stand and testify against his former boss.
Ogondi told the court that he recommended that the contentious Sh1.3 billion tender awarded to South African firm Face Technologies for the delivery of Electronic Voter Identification Devices (EVID) be cancelled.
“Citing our recent experience from the deployment of the BVR kits there was clearly need to provide support for such a process,” Ogondi told Magistrate Doreen Mulekyo.
But, Face Technologies was unwilling to offer such support on Election Day; March 4, 2013 Ogondi told the court.
He added that it was also unclear who between IEBC and Face Technologies would be responsible for the transfer of voter details from the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits to the EVID.
Ogondi said he was also concerned that Face Technologies would not meet the set timelines in its provision of a network capability component.
This was advice, Ogondi testified, that Oswago and his three co-accused failed to heed.
Oswago is charged alongside suspended Deputy Commission Secretary in charge of Support Services Wilson Shollei, Director of Finance Edward Karisa and Procurement Manager Willy Kamanga.
The three were arrested by Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission detectives on October 29, 2013 before being charged the next day for failing to comply with the procurement law.
“They jointly and willfully failed to comply with the law relating to procurement of goods to wit section 47 of the public procurement and Disposal Act and Regulation 31 of the Public Procurement and Disposal Regulations,” the charges read.
They are also charged for failing to ascertain that the devices supplied were, “inspected, accepted and met the technical specifications of the contract.”
Following their arraignment they were released by Mulekyo on bond: “Each accused person may be released on surety bond of half a million Kenya shillings or alternative cash bail of similar amount and the defence to be furnished with any other documentary evidence that the prosecution intends to rely on in addition to the copies of investigation diary at their own course,” she ruled.