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Oswago, Oyombra deny Chickengate charges, freed on bond

Oswago (R) was charged alongside Hamida Ali Kibwana (C) and Trevy Oyombra (R)/MOSES MUOKI

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 8 – Former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chief Executive Officer James Oswago and the alleged broker at the centre of the Chickengate scandal Trevy Oyombra have been released on a Sh1 million bond each after appearing in court.

The two were alternatively asked to pay a cash bail of Sh600,000 each when they took a plea in the multi-million scandal case before Chief Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi.

The case will be mentioned on March 1, 2017.

They are accused of corruption in printing contracts for materials for the last General Election where prices were inflated by huge amounts for kickbacks.

Another suspect, Hamida Ali Kibwana was released on a Sh1.5 million bond or an alternative cash bail of Sh1 million.

Oswago is accused of failing to comply with procurement regulations during the awarding of a “contract for the supply of 57,000 ballot papers for the South Mugirango by-election to Smith & Ouzman Ltd in contravention of regulation 10 (2)(c) of the Public procurement and Disposal Regulations 2006.”

Oyombra is said to have been the link between officials in various government agencies and foreign firms, including British security printing firm Smith & Ouzman.

He is accused of receiving millions of shillings, money which was meant to act as an inducement to the interim Independent Electoral Commission, for them to award Smith & Ouzman various printing contracts.

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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.

Officials of the printing firm are accused of paying Sh47 million in bribes in Kenya and another Sh10 million elsewhere in Africa.

The offences are said to have taken place between November 2006 and December 2010 and relate to transactions in Mauritania, Ghana, Somaliland and Kenya.

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