Ex-IEBC boss James Oswago distances himself from Ksh.1.3B tender scandal

Ex-IEBC boss James Oswago distances himself from Ksh.1.3B tender scandal

Former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) CEO James Oswago has distanced himself from himself over the 2013 Ksh.1.3 billion voter identification devices tender scandal.

Early this year, Anti-Corruption court Magistrate Felix Kombo found that the former IEBC boss and deputy commissioner Wilson Shollei have a case to answer in relation to abuse of office charges.

The two were put to their defence after the prosecution proved that they failed to comply with the law relating to procurement when they procured Electronic Voter Identification Devices (EVID) for the March 4, 2013 General Election.

Taking to the witness stand, Oswago said a CEO is not responsible for the procurement process and cannot direct the tender committee either directly or indirectly, adding that the committee approves, rejects and reports a matter back for the procurement process to start again.

Oswago further told the court that the political class had accused them of wanting to rig the 2013 elections and pushed them to go on with the BVR tender.

He testified that despite telling them in a meeting that they were too late to procure the said electoral material, the political class insisted that they go ahead.

“The people who there during the meeting including Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila Odinga, William Ruto and Martha Karua… they said that we want to rig and insisted that we go ahead,” the court heard.

Oswago told Magistrate Kombo that the tender was cancelled twice citing several reasons, adding that the gadgets were delivered four days to the elections.

According to his testimony, a total of 3,460 gadgets were procured and delivered to the IEBC warehouse yet the initial plan was to have 3,000 BVR kits delivered.

The ex-IEBC boss said the decision to have the additional kits was not his but was collectively agreed upon.

“It was not an accident…or an act of corruption…if we were to wait then elections would not have happened then,” he said.