, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 20 – Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir and former chief executive of the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) Paul Wasanga were questioned at the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission Friday over their role in the unfolding multi-billion shilling ‘chicken’ scandal.
After more than five hours of grilling at the Commission offices, Wasanga told reporters that British firm Smith & Ouzman has been printing national examinations in a competitive tendering process for more than eight years.
While maintaining that he is innocent, Wasanga revealed that he is being accused of being bribed with 5,000 pounds (Sh700,000 at current exchange rates) to award the company with the printing tender.
“When I took over as the CEO in 2005, I found them printing examinations for us. We had nine other printers who were qualified,” he stated.
“The awarding of the tender has been above board…they (Smith & Ouzman) won the tender, it’s not like they were given.”
EACC detectives want to establish how the tendering process to award the UK firm was carried out and whether the law was breached.
Wasanga expressed hope of being vindicated from any wrong doing once the investigations are completed.
“The allegations were just that…the commission is investigating to determine whether they are true,” he said. “I first saw the allegations in the newspapers.”
Chirchir, on his part, called on members of the public to offer any information that may help clear his name in the chicken scandal.
The CS said he was not even aware of the said agent, Trevy Oyombra, who is said to have been the link in offering bribes (chicken) between the UK firm and Kenyan officials.
“We will be happy to have this case properly concluded and I have encouraged anyone who may have evidence as regarding to the allegations which we have seen to basically come forward with that evidence so that we can close these issues,” he stated.
On Oyombra, he stated: “I do not know him”
The officials are accused of having received bribes from Smith & Ouzman whose two top executives were convicted in the UK last week.
On Thursday, IEBC Chairman Issack Hassan appeared before the EACC in a bid to shed light on the scam in which officials of the defunct Interim Independent Electoral Commission are accused of having received bribes during the procurement of election materials.
“I was not on trial in the UK courts. Like any other citizen of this country, I am entitled to the presumption of innocence guaranteed by the Constitution until proved otherwise. I will be accorded the opportunity to face any accusers and defend myself in accordance with the laws of Kenya,” he said.
“In sentencing the officials of Smith & Ouzman printing firm, the courts in UK said that the period during which the offences occurred was between 1 November 2006 and 31 December 2010. IEBC came into office in November 2011.”
The Southwark Crown Court jailed two officials of S&O printing firm found guilty of bribing IIEC officials.
Nicholas Smith and his father Christopher will serve about three years in jail for their involvement in the corruption scandal involving top managers of the then IIEC.