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Three IEBC officials, businessman convicted for fraud

Three former officials of the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) alongside Ben Gethi, who’s accused of defrauding the National Youth Service (NYS) have been found guilty of defrauding the polls body Sh147million.

Gethi was convicted alongside Joyce Makena, his co-director in Solarmak Technologies Limited which was the epicenter of the fraud.

The former IEBC officials namely Kennedy Gaunye Ochae, Gabriel Ngonyo Mutunga and Willie Gachanja Kamanga were convicted for altering the tender documents submitted by Solarmak.

Mutunga who was described by the court as the mastermind of the lethal fraud was convicted for altering the amounts quoted in the Solarmak tender documents to read Sh147million from Sh105million.

Solarmak which had tendered to supply of Solar Lanterns for use during the 2013 polls had pledged to supply the lanterns at a cost of Sh3,050 each.

Upon being convicted, Makena disclosed to the court she has a two-month-old suckling baby and she “needs to be re-united with her child so that the infant does not suffer.”

Following the disclosure, anti-corruption court chief magistrate Lawrence Mugambi ordered the Investigating Officer Mr Arthur Opiri to remand the fraudster at a facility where she can be re-united with her two-months-old baby to give motherly care.

“Following the revelation that Makena has a young suckling baby I hereby directed Mr Opiri to remand the convict (Makena accused seven) at a facility where she can access her child,” Mr Mugambi ruled.

Gethi and Makena were convicted for the offence of forgery and uttering a tax compliance certificate purporting it had been issued by the Assistant Commissioner of the Domestic Tax department Mr Gilbert Atika, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

Gethi and Makena were charged with forgery contrary to section 349 as read with section 345 of the penal code.

In his judgement, Mr Mugambi said Gethi and Makena’s Solarmak was not eligible for the tender since their company was two months-old when it tendered for the job and “by all means the procurement rules disqualified it.”

He dismissed the defence of Gethi that he was not involved in the tender yet a receipt for the tender to supply general elections materials was recovered from him by the investigating officer Mr Opiri.

The magistrate threw out the defence of Makena that she never new about the tender claiming her name was included in the company by her father who was running it.

Makena claimed she was in school when the company was registered and “was never involved in its day to day operations.”

But the magistrate said company registry records show Makena had 80 per cent shares and Gethi 20 per cent.

“Makena and Gethi crafted lies do not hold water and they fall by the way side, “ruled Mugambi.

He proceeded to convict both of them as charged.