Former IIEC officers grilled over 'Chickengate' scandal

Thursday March 3 2016

The alleged mastermind of the 'chicken' gate scandal Mr Trevy Oyombra hides his face as journalists try to photograph him on February 23, 2016 when he was at the Integrity Centre for questioning by EACC detectives. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The alleged mastermind of the 'chicken' gate scandal Mr Trevy Oyombra hides his face as journalists try to photograph him on February 23, 2016 when he was at the Integrity Centre for questioning by EACC detectives. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ISAAC ONGIRI
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At least 16 former employees of the defunct Interim Independent Electoral Commission have been questioned over emails in the ‘Chickengate’ scandal.

The ex-officials served in two tender committees that handled procurement of ballot papers used in the Bomachoge and Shinyalu by-elections and the 2010 referendum.

They are said to have travelled to the UK to evaluate the process of procuring the papers.

“This week, investigators have been meeting junior staff who served as tender committee members. We will update you further on the progress of ongoing investigations,” said Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission spokesman Kairichi Marimba.

The emails were exchanged between commission staff and officials from Smith and Ouzman, a UK company accused of bribing Kenyan electoral officials to secure tenders. 

HASSAN TO BE GRILLED

The anti-graft team is expected to conclude its report this week after recording fresh statements from the remaining former commissioners mentioned in a report submitted to the attorney-general by the UK.

The current electoral commission chairman Issack Hassan, who served as chairman of the former commission, is among those expected to be questioned.

However, a date has yet to be fixed since Mr Hassan arrived back from India this week where he has been on official duty.

It is suspected that the bribery occurred during procurement and when the officials visited UK.

Detectives said emails UK authorities submitted would be key to unravelling the truth about the scandal that has taken Kenya years to prosecute.

A London court has convicted and jailed Smith and Ouzman officials who bribed the Kenyans.

Former electoral commission staff set to be grilled include Kenneth Karani, Joseph Ayatta, Osman Hassan, Celestine Kiluki and Tabitha Mutemi.

Those already questioned included former chief executive James Oswago, a former commissioner Yusuf Nzibo and Mr Trevy Oyombra, who was said to be the link between Smith and Ouzman officials and the Kenyans.

Two weeks ago, the anti-graft chairman Philip Kinisu promised a fresh report on the ‘Chickengate’ would be presented to the director of prosecutions in a fortnight.