Ex-IEBC chief, James Oswago, two others charged over chickengate scam

Ex-IEBC chief, James Oswago, two others charged over chickengate scam

The former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chief Executive Office, James Oswago, former commission official, Hamida Ali Kibwana, and agent for a UK ballot printing firm, Trevy Oyombra, were on Wednesday, February 8 charged in a Nairobi court over the Chickengate scam.

The three, who appeared before Magistrate Lawrence Mogambi at Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi, were facing charges for over Ksh 50 million that was paid as bribe by a UK firm, Smith & Ouzman, to former members of the defunct Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) and the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) to award it a printing tender.

Oswago and Hamida were, however, released on a cash bail of Ksh 600,000 each with Oyombra being released on a Ksh 1 million cash bail.

Oswago was arrested January 8 morning by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) detectives alongside agent Trevy Oyombra, who brokered the deal between the officials of IIEC, KNEC and the printing firm and Hamida Ali Kibwana, a procurement officer at the then poll body.

Mid last year, Oswago said that he should not be investigated over the Chickengate scandal claiming that EACC was targeting him.

EACC, however, cleared the immediate former IEBC chairperson, Ahmed Issack Hassan, over the chickengate scam in which 50 million shillings was paid out as bribes to the then poll officials.

EACC, however, recommended that criminal charges be proffered against the alleged mastermind of the scam; Oyombra, Oswago, and two former procurement officials.

EACC said it has evidence of criminal culpability on the part of four persons allegedly involved in the Ksh 52 million bribery scam and, therefore, recommended criminal charges.

A four-year investigation by UK’s Serious Fraud Unit of deals involving UK Firm Smith & Ouzman executives revealed that the Kenyan electoral and examination officials allegedly received bribes code-named ‘chicken’ through their agent, Trevy Oyombra to receive lucrative printing tenders.

Top on the list of those who were initially being probed are; sacked Energy Cabinet Secretary, Davis Chirchir, who then served as a commissioner at the defunct Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC), ex-IEBC CEO James Oswago, ex-Deputy CEO and former Judiciary Chief Registrar, Gladys Boss Shollei, and former KNEC boss, Paul Wasanga.

A UK court has already convicted two Smith and Ouzman directors for offering 50 million shillings to Kenyan poll agency officials to influence procurement of ballot material in past elections.

The case is set for mention on 1st March 2017.