The corruption and abuse of office case against former IEBC Chief Executive James Oswago and other top officials of the electoral commission commenced this morning at the High Court in Nairobi. Oswago is facing charges of dubious procurement of electronic devices which were to be used during the 2013 General elections.
Oswago, deputy Commission Secretary in charge of Support Services Wilson Kiprotich Shollei, Director of Finance Edward Kenga Karisa and procurement manager Willy Gachanja Kamanga all of who are suspended were charged with four counts of abuse of office and failing to comply with procurement regulations.
The case comes at a time ODM, the major loser of last year’s presidential elections, maintains the elections were fraudulent and IEBC plus other state institutions manipulated the will of the people. The case against Oswago will see 36 witnesses, including Chairman Isaack Hassan and two of the commissioners, Abdullahi Mohammed Sharawe and Albert Bwire also testify against the disgraced former CEO.
The case that is being prosecuted by the Anti-corruption commission will be bring bitter memories of the polls, especially to CORD supporters, as the jubilee win could not be ascertained t=due to failure of the electronic devices to function during the polls. Already, EACC published a gazette supplement in which it accused IEBC of altering the technical specifications of the electronic voter identification kits that were to be used in the March 4 elections.
In report gazetted late last year, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission had advertised for hand-held kits in its tender, however, the specifications were changed without authorisation to laptops, which largely failed on March 4, 2013, delaying the casting of votes at most polling stations.
“Investigations established that the hand-held devices that were to be supplied as per the tender specifications and award were irregularly changed, leading to the supply of laptops instead of the devices provided for in the contract signed between the IEBC and successful tenderer,” the report published in the Kenya Gazette Friday said.
The report also revealed that changes to the technical specifications were effected without the approval of the electoral commission’s tender committee as stipulated by procurement laws.
The kits were supplied by South African firm Face Technologies.
Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko accepted the recommendations of the anti-graft agency that four electoral commission officers who allegedly engaged in abuse of office and breach of public procurement laws and regulations be charged. Officials of the supplier face similar charges.
Acting on the approval of the DPP, the anti-graft agency arrested electoral commission chief executive James Oswago, his deputy Wilson Shollei, finance director Edward Karisa and procurement manager Willy Kamanga.Â This week, two witnesses are set to testify with rest expected to take the stand in the coming weeks.