, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chief Executive Officer James Oswago has accused the EACC of using him as a scapegoat in the Chickengate scandal, after the agency recommended charges against him and three others.
Oswago claims that he was not given a chance to record a statement with the anti-graft body over the allegations, but Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Spokesperson Kairichi Marimba insisted he recorded statements on two separate dates.
- Oyombra is said to have been the link between officials in various government agencies and foreign firms, including British security printing firm Smith & Ouzman. Two employees of the printing firm are already serving a jail term for bribing election officials in Kenya and Mauritania
- The company which specialises in printing security documents such as ballot papers and certificates was convicted of three counts of corruptly agreeing to make payments, contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906
- The former chairman of Smith & Ouzman, Christopher John Smith, from East Sussex, was convicted on two counts of corruptly agreeing to make payments while the former sales and marketing director Nicholas Charles Smith was convicted on three counts of corruptly agreeing to make payments
“Oswago was interviewed and he recorded the first statement on 4th March, 2015 at Integrity Centre 2pm,” Marimba said in a statement. “Oswago was again interviewed and he recorded a further statement on 26th February, 2016 at 11am.”
The commission wants Oswago charged alongside businessman Trevy Oyombra and two other people – Hamida Kibwana and Kenneth Karani – accused of playing unspecified roles in the multi-million shilling scandal.
But the troubled former CEO said he had asked for the documents the EACC was referring to while summoning him, before he could record any statement.
Oswago wrote to the commission through his lawyer in a letter dated March 3, 2016 where he asked for copies of the documents.
He specifically wanted a copy of alleged emails between Oyombra, UK firm Smith & Ouzman and the commission to ascertain their authenticity.
“Our client, who was seeing the said emails for the first time on a screen, was required to comment on them and to write a statement thereon without being given the opportunity to verify the authenticity and authorship of the said emails, the accuracy of the allegations made therein and whether the said emails were referring to him or some other person,” the letter seen by Capital FM reads.
In a rejoinder, EACC however said the request would not have been honoured due to sensitivity of the case and instead Oswago was given as much time as he wanted to study the documents while at Integrity Centre.
“On the issue of taking copies of documents home to study and come and answer questions by the investigators, Oswago was informed that the documents could not be released outside Integrity Centre having regard to confidentiality – since this might disclose details of an investigation or persons under investigations to other parties.
“Oswago was given the option of taking the time he required to study the documents at Integrity Centre,” Marimba asserted.
Oswago however alleges that the probe was being influenced by unnamed people “within and outside” to cleanse some IEBC officials or to divert attention from the EACC, which has been on spot over the sluggish manner they investigated the case.
“Twice, the EACC has used the CEO as the sacrificial lamb; on EVID (Electronic Voter Identification Kits) now Chickengate,” Oswago complained.