A BRITISH printing firm paid kickbacks of up to Sh40 million to secure contracts for the printing of Kenya’s ballot papers and examination certificates, a UK court has been told.

Southwark Crown Court heard that the company, Smith & Ouzman Ltd., targeted senior officials to win the tenders in a number of African countries.

In Kenya, the company won a tender to print ballot papers used in the 2013 General Election and Kenya National Examinations Council certificates.

Evidence tendered in court showed that the directors of the company and conduits for the money used the coded word “chicken” for the bribes they paid out.

Among the emails presented in court is one saying that “we will definitely give them the chicken”.

In an email from Trevy James Oyombra to Christopher Smith on December 29, 2008, Trevy details a meeting and confirms he has promised a public official some chicken, it was said.

“Hello Smith, I was successful in the mission – two hours of his time, we spoke at length, he was also surprised I knew a lot of procurement regulations and loopholes…”,’ wrote Trevy.

“Well, he has given me a lot of back information that would be helpful to you.

“First he asked me if you were a nice guy and if you gave chicken and yes, I told him that is why I was there.

“He is very comfortable working with me because I told him we have to work with you and you will make that change in his life.”

There was also a suggestion to “increase costs in a reasonable manner” and emails confirming “we will definitely give them the chicken”, jurors heard.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chairman Issack Hassan said that he was aware of the UK court case, but added that the commission does not know its specifics.

He also said that the tendering process was done aboveboard and a company that challenged the award lost the case in court.

“We are not aware of any person who has received a bribe over the tender. The commission is also made up of nine commissioners, including myself, nine directors, and over 40 managers. We are not aware that any of them have received the bribes as alleged,” Hassan said.

Knec CEO Joseph Kivilu maintained that he has only read about the allegations in the media and that none of his staff has been linked to the sleaze directly.

“None of the staff here has been accused directly,” he told the Star on the phone. “The case is still in court, let it conclude and then we shall see what comes out.”

Appearing in court are Christopher Smith, 71, the chairman of Smith & Ouzman Ltd., and his son, sales and marketing director, Nicholas Smith, 42. They have been accused of bribing senior government officials in Africa to secure the lucrative tenders.

Also charged is Tim Forrester, described as the company’s international sales manager. Evidence also shows that 47-year-old Forrester and company agent Abdirahman Omar, 38, were involved in the alleged plot, between November 2006 and December 2010.


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