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Kenya Receives Sh43 Million Seized from UK Firm at Centre of ‘Chickengate’

Kenya has finally received Sh43.74 million seized from a British firm that bribed electoral and examinations council officials to win tenders.

Documents tabled in Parliament last week revealed that London wired the money to Nairobi and it has been included in the supplementary budget tabled being reviewed in the National Assembly.

The budgeting of the forfeited bribes is the clearest sign that the British government has lost its bid to guide the use of the money confiscated from printing firm Smith & Ouzman.

The UK had earlier recommended that the confiscated money be used to buy bed nets for pregnant mothers and children in malaria-prone areas, saying this would spread the benefits to most Kenyans and comes with few operating costs.

Kenya insisted on ambulances and MPs last Thursday urged that they should be distributed evenly across the country.

“On the allocation of Sh43.746 million towards procurement of ambulances resulting from compensation of Smith & Ouzman conviction, the committee recommends that the distribution of ambulances should reflect the face of Kenya,” noted a report from Parliament’s budget committee review the supplementary budget.

London’s Southwark Crown Court on January 8, 2016 seized the assets of Smith & Ouzman — the UK printer at the centre of the bribery scam — and ordered it to pay a total of £2.39 million (Sh309 million) in fines and penalties for paying Independent Electoral and Boundaries (IEBC) and Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) executives bribes codenamed ‘chicken’.

The court ordered that £349,057.39 — equivalent to the hefty bribes dished to the IEBC and Knec officials — be repatriated to Kenya.  “Both governments have agreed that the purchase of ambulances was a suitable use of the funds arising from the Smith & Ouzman case,” said British High Commission in December. “These ambulances are being procured by Crown Agents. Most of the vehicles are already in the country and will be converted in Nairobi for medical use.”

This is a big win for the Treasury and the anti-graft agency, which wanted the money used to buy 11 ambulances for various hospitals.

Whilst London has jailed Smith & Ouzman executives and confiscated their assets, Kenya is yet to nail those who ate ‘chicken.’

Source: Business Daily

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