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Former IEBC chiefs get four years in jail over corruption

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Former IEBC chiefs get four years in jail over corruption


Former IEBC chiefs get four years in jail over corruption. PHOTO | POOL

The anti-corruption court in Nairobi has sentenced former electoral commission’s chief executive officer James Oswago to four years in jail over corruption in relation to the procurement of Sh1.3 billion voter identification devices in 2013.

Chief Magistrate Felix Kombo, at the same time, sentenced former deputy commission secretary in charge of support services Wilson Kiprotich Shollei to a similar imprisonment term for the tender scam involving procurement of Electronic Voter Identification Devices (EVID) for the March 4, 2013, General Election.

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They are the first top officials of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to be convicted for grafted-related offences.

The magistrate, however, gave them an alternative of paying a fine of Sh7.5 million each.

Meting out the punishments, the magistrate noted that Mr Oswago and Mr Shollei were the first offenders and had cooperated with the investigators and prosecutors during the court trial.

They were found guilty of two offences of abuse of office and failure to comply with the law relating to procurement. During the court trial that started in October 2013, the Prosecution produced 31 witnesses and 108 documents to support its case.

The court found that Mr Oswago and Mr Shollei failed to ensure that the changes made to the contract awarded to Face Technologies Limited for the supply of Electronic Voter Identification were approved by the IEBC’s tender committee.

“The court has considered the challenges associated with elections. But elections must be handled with care. Mr Oswago and Mr Shollei were not faithful to the procurement process leading to a crisis,” said the magistrate.

He ruled that the pair, being officers whose functions concerned the management of public revenue, jointly and willfully failed to comply with the law relating to the procurement of goods according to section 47 of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act and Regulation 31 of the Public Procurement and Disposal Regulations.

As a result, some of the biometric voter register kits supplied by Face Technologies Limited were faulty and failed to function on election day in various parts of the country.

“Failure to conduct inspection had consequences to the general election. They would have ensured the kits met all the specifications and the supplier delivered the right quantity and in the right schedule,” the court said.

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They also failed to ensure the changes made to the contract awarded to Face Technologies Limited by the IEBC for the supply of Electronic Voter Identification kits were approved by IEBC tender committee.

In mitigation, the convicts told the court to consider that though there were procurement irregularities no money was lost in the process.

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