Oyombra and Oswago deny charges, released on bond hours after their arrest

Earlier, James Oswago and Trever Oyombra were cushioned by the scandal bigwigs. Already the other officials in the UK are serving jail terms in relation to the same scandal.

 

Oswago, who was earlier claimed to have protection from the scandal bigwigs, was arrested along with other two people, Hamida Ali Kibwana and suspected mastermind of the purge and an agent of a UK ballot printing firm, Trevy Oyombra.

Oyombra is suspected to have been the key person in the disappearance of the Sh46 million which involved the printing of ballot papers used in the referendum for the 2010 constitutional reviews and the Kenya National Examination Council examination papers.

In an earlier investigation by the United Kingdom based Serious Fraud Office, it unearthed sentiments that the electoral officials accommodated bribes in pricing by inflating the prices of ballot papers by up to 38 per cent.

The former IIEC officials are currently being held at the Integrity Centre after their roundup this morning by the EACC sleuths.

In a report received July last year by the Attorney General Prof Githu Muigai, the British government had named the defunct IIEC commissioners and tender committee members to have received a kickback form Smith and Ouzman Limited, in lieu of a tender to print papers that were used in the 2010 referendum.  A similar copy of the report was forwarded to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions Kerikao Tobiko.

Procurement improprieties

The charges against them relate to the procurement of ballot papers for the 2010 referendum, as well as for the Shinyalu and Bamachoge by-elections.

Prosecutors in the United Kingdom, who netted and imprisoned the co-accused officers from the Smith and Ouzman Limited, alleged that the Kenyan electoral officials were paid a sum of £349,057.39 (Sh46 million).

In the report held by the Kenyan authorities, top beneficiaries of the illicit tender award from the Smith & Ouzman Limited include former IIEC commissioner Davis Chirchir and CEO James Oswago and former KNEC boss Paul Wasanga.

A London prosecutors earlier said that Wasanga received Sh705, 000 per year from the Smith and Ouzman’s chairman Christopher Smith. Wasanga is said to have collected the money in cash, during lavish annual trips to the UK.

The IIEC was since disbanded and its roles taken up by now a newly constituted Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Serial allegations

On his part, former KNEC’s Paul Wasanga has retired from the council. Chirchir stepped aside over an unrelated corruption scandal and was replaced last November by President Uhuru Kenyatta, after bowing  to pressure form the opposition to implement strict measures to curb the then rampant graft in the government.

The handcuffed Oswango was once charged in a Nairobi court with a different crime related to his time as CEO of the IIEC.

Charged

Upon their appearance before the Milimani Law Courts Judge Lawrence Mogambi, Oswago and Hamida were released on a cash bail of Ksh 600,000 each with Oyombra being released on a Ksh 1 million cash bail. The case is set for mention on 1st March 2017.

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