EACC summons electoral boss over ‘Chickengate’

Sunday March 6 2016

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chairman Issack Hassan. Mr Hassan will face EACC's chief investigations officer, Mr Abdi Mohammed, on March 8, 2016 at 10 am. FILE PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chairman Issack Hassan. Mr Hassan will face EACC's chief investigations officer, Mr Abdi Mohammed, on March 8, 2016 at 10 am. FILE PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ISAAC ONGIRI
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The anti-corruption commission has finally summoned the chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Mr Ahmed Issack Hassan, in a new round of Chickengate scandal investigations.

Mr Hassan will face chief investigations officer, Mr Abdi Mohammed of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) on Tuesday at 10 am.

He is expected to shed light on the scandal that occurred during the procurement of ballot papers both for the 2010 constitution referendum and the Bomachoge by-election in the same year.

The anti-graft body has met over a dozen former staff of the Interim Independent Electoral Commission who took part in the tender processing to shed light on the scandal.

Some of those summoned include members of the tender committee that travelled to Britain to evaluate the processes, and officials in Nairobi.

“We will meet Mr Hassan on Monday,” said the EACC deputy chief executive officer Michael Mubea. He didn’t give details.

Pressure has mounted for the prosecution of those mentioned in the Chickengate scandal on account of information relied on by the UK government to jail two of their nationals implicated.

The EACC investigators have largely focused on emails exchanged between Smith and Ouzman officials and some commission staff during and after the tendering period.

A senior official at the attorney-general’s office indicated that the emails would be key to unlocking the tender bribery between officials of the UK firm and the commission’s staff.

“We are not clear when the final report on the investigations will be released, although the chairman, Mr Philip Kinisu, said two weeks. We can rely only on the investigators to give us the way forward after proper analysis of the evidence,” said the spokesman of the commission, Mr Kairichi Marimba.

IN THE LINE OF FIRE
Former IEBC chief executive officer James Oswago and Commissioner Yusuf Nzibo visited the commission two weeks ago to record fresh statements on the matter.

Others who have met investigators after the UK government released a mutual legal assistance report include Mr Trevy Oyombra.

Two Britons were found to have been involved in the scandal — in which IIEC and Kenya National Examinations Council officials are said to have pocketed Sh50 million as bribes to award tenders to Smith & Ouzman Ltd.

Nicholas Charles Smith, 43, who was the company’s sales and marketing director, was jailed for three years by the Southwark Crown Court for bribing officials of the IIEC and Knec.

Smith’s father, Christopher John Smith, 71, the chairman of the company, was sentenced to an 18-month suspended term for his role in the scandal.

EACC investigators are expected to start recording statements from Knec officials after completing the electoral body’s case.