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Ojaamong defends himself in graft case

Thursday July 16 2020
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Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong defends himself in the Sh8 million graft case against him. PHOTO | RICHARD MUNGUTI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By RICHARD MUNGUTI

Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong, who is facing graft charges, admitted before the anti-corruption court that he visited Germany for a familiarisation trip of solid waste management, but not to plot how to defraud the county.

Ojaamong, who was defending himself Wednesday in a case where he is charged with abuse of office and conspiracy to defraud, told Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti that while in Germany, he signed a memorandum of understanding with Madam-R Enterprises which was to spearhead the solid waste management project.

“I did not conspire to defraud my Busia County government money as alleged by the anti-graft agency,” Mr Ojaamong told the court.

The governor who gave an unsworn defence told Mr Ogoti, “my visit to Germany was not a leisure trip as alleged by the prosecution.”

He told the magistrate that in the trip he was accompanied by the county executive committee member in the Environment docket.

“As the head of the county, I led a delegation of officers from my government plus members of the county assembly who play the oversight role to Germany to familiarise ourselves with waste management,” Ojaamong.

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He said while in Germany, Madam-R Enterprises organised training for the Busia delegation on waste management.

Besides the county officials Ojaamong said he also included members of the press in the trip who used to wire back for broadcasting activities they undertook while in German.

The governor denied that he conspired to defraud the county over Sh8 million.

As he concluded his defence, Ojaamong urged the court to find that he committed no wrong then pleaded with the magistrate to acquit him and clear him of any wrong doing.

Ojaamong was put on his defence after the court ruled that he had a case to answer.

He is also charged with conspiracy to commit an economic crime and engaging in a project without proper planning.

He was charged alongside Busia CEC Bernard Yaite, Finance chief officer Allan Ekweny and Treasury head Samuel Ombui.

Mr Ojaamong is being defended by Senior Counsel James Orengo and Stephen Ligunya.

They are also accused of failing to comply with the law on the management of public funds and fraudulent acquisition of public property.

Others suspects in the case are Timon Otieno, Leonard Wanda, Madam R Enterprises and its directors, Edna Adhiambo, Renish Achieng and Sebastian Hallensleben -  a German national.

Hearing continues.

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