Chickengate scandal: Trial postponed after ex-polls boss Oswago bereaved

Former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission CEO James Oswago in the dock on October 13, 2020.

Photo credit: Joseph Wangui | Nation Media Group

The anti-corruption court has adjourned the trial of former electoral commission chief executive James Oswago and two others for graft linked to the Sh50 million Chickengate scandal.

Chief magistrate Lawrence Mugambi postponed hearing of the case following absence of Mr Oswago as a result of death of his daughter.

Mr Oswago's lawyer Jotham Arua informed court that his client’s daughter had succumbed to Leukemia on Saturday.

“My client is bereaved and is currently busy preparing the burial. We cannot continue with the proceedings and we want adjournment not just for today but for the rest of the week,” said Mr Arua. 

The case, in which Mr Oswago is charged alongside Hamida Ali Kibwana and Trevy Oyombra, was coming up for hearing between Monday and Thursday. But the court pushed it to October 25 as it condoled with Mr Oswago’s family. 

The magistrate, while allowing the adjournment, stated that “it is not an easy thing for a parent to lose a child”.

The case involves bribery of poll agency officials for a tender to print ballot papers. Mr Oyombra was the local agent for a UK firm Smith & Ouzman which was implicated in dishing out bribes, while Ms Kibwana allegedly received bribes from the company on behalf of the electoral commission’s CEO, court papers indicate.

Mr Trevy Oyombra, the alleged mastermind Chickengate scandal

Mr Trevy Oyombra, the alleged mastermind of the Chickengate scandal, when he appeared before Milimani courts on September 12, 2019. 

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Mr Oswago is accused of willful failure to comply with applicable procedures and guidelines relating to procurement of goods.

Court papers indicate he wilfully failed to comply with the law relating to procurement of goods by awarding the contract contract for supply of 57,000 ballot papers for the South Mugirango by-election to Smith and Ouzman Ltd.

This was in contravention of the Public Procurement and Disposal Regulations 2006. He allegedly committed the offence on May 7, 2010 at the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) offices in Nairobi County.

In July 2016, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) recommended that Mr Oswago and three other junior officials be charged, but exonerated top officials mentioned in a London court as having pocketed hefty bribes totalling £349,057.39 (Sh45.4 million).

The bribes were codenamed ‘chicken’ as per email exchanges obtained by investigators.

The former IEBC boss is also accused of receiving Sh2 million on August 13, 2010 from Mr Kibwana as inducement to have the Commission award a contract for printing of OMR Correction forms to Smith and Ouzman Limited, contrary the Anti-corruption and Economic Crimes Act.


You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.