Ex-Kebs boss released over Sh64m fraud

Out on bail, ex-Kebs Managing Director Charles Ongwae. [File, Standard]

NAIROBI, KENYA: A court has released former Kenya Bureau of Standards Managing Director Charles Ongwae after he denied fraud allegations.

Ongwae and others are accused of colluding with three companies to undervalue imported goods leading to loss worth Sh64.9 million.

It is claimed that Kebs and customs officials helped Gendipe Enterprises and Rupai Trading Ltd together with their clearing agent Landmark Freight Services Ltd to conceal goods they imported to evade tax and revenue.

According to the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, a revaluation of the goods imported by the two enterprises from Dubai revealed that they had underpaid the customs authority, making the country lose a cumulative sum of Sh64.9 million.

“Following numerous cases of evasion and avoidance of tax payment that has affected the collection of government revenue, the DCI commenced investigations with regard to mis-declarations and importation of contraband products into the country,” said Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.

Ongwae is charged alongside Esther Wangui, Elizabeth Nyambura, Ali Thuo, Alex Maina, Eric Chesire, Cornelious Mwanyamba, Fredrick Cheruyiyot, Samuel Mburu, George Hillary, Ibrahim Tahir, Harrison Ngugi, Gendipe     Enterprises, Rupai Trading and Landmark Freight Services Limited.

The charge sheet contains 33 counts and all the accused face different counts depending on the roles they played and the position they held.

On Wednesday, magistrate Kenneth Cheruiyot released Ongwae on Sh300,000 cash bail or Sh500,000 bond.

The case is among many facing the former Kenya Bureau of Standards Boss. In Jun 2018, he was arrested over an influx of contraband goods in the country.

His arrest came after weeks of Kebs fighting negative publicity over claims of allowing the distribution of fake standardisation mark stickers and stamps, leading to a proliferation of fake products in the market.

Those arrested alongside Ongwae were Eric Chesire (quality assurance director), Peter Kinyanjui (inspection manager Kilindini), Martin Nyakiamo (regional manager Coast) and Pole Mwangeni (port health officer).