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Witness tables contracts used in electoral materials scandal

Thursday September 12 2019

Chickengate scandal

Chickengate scandal suspects (from left) Trevor Oyombra, Hamida Ali Kibwana and James Oswago in court on September 11, 2019. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SAM KIPLAGAT
By SAM KIPLAGAT
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A former procurement manager at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Wednesday tabled several contracts between the agency and British company Smith and Ouzman, for the supply of electoral materials in 2010, in a scandal now famously known as Chickengate.

Mr Bernard Nyachio told chief magistrate Lawrence Mugambi that some of the contracts were not subjected to procurement procedures.

CONTRACT

Although he said he could not clearly remember how the decisions to procure the materials for by-elections in 2010 were arrived at, Mr Nyachio told the court that some of the contracts were decided by the plenary of the commission.

Among the contracts he cited were those for procurement of  materials to be used in the by-election for Matuga constituency and 27 electoral wards, which were due on July 12, 2010. The company was also awarded a contract to supply ballot papers for the South Mugirango by-election. According to the contract, the company was to print 57,000 ballot papers.

The contract was later varied through a document signed by the then CEO James Oswago on May 19, 2010, to include some 3,180 pieces of Form 16A and a similar number of pieces for Form 17A.

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Smith and Ouzman was also awarded a contract for the supply of strategic voter registration materials “as and when required” for a period up to September 30, 2010. Under the contract, the company was supposed to print 18 million voter cards and a 50 per cent payment of the contract value was made.

Mr Nyachio, the twelfth prosecution witness, said in some instances, he would communicate to the company’s agent in the country, Mr Trevor Oyombra.

REGULATIONS

In the case, Mr Oswago, Mr Oyombra and Ms Hamida Ali Kibwana have been charged with several counts in the procurement of electoral materials that were used in by-elections in 2010.

Mr Oswago has been charged with, among other counts, wilful failure to comply with laws relating to procurement of electoral materials for the by-elections in contravention of Public Procurement and Disposal Regulations.

He is further accused of receiving Sh2 million from Ms Kibwana as an inducement to award the contracts to the UK company. Ms Kibwana on her part is alleged to have received Sh2,232,570 from Mr Oyombra.

Mr Oyombra is accused of corruptly receiving Sh1,247,419 from Smith and Ouzman as an inducement to push for the contracts for printing of voter registration forms, voter ID cards and ballot papers for the Shinyalu and Bomachoge by-elections.

The hearing continues Thursday.