Suspended KEBS boss charged and freed on bail in Sh64m fraud

Suspended Kenya Bureau of Standards Managing Director Charles Ongwae at a past court appearance. [File, Standard]

Suspended Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) Managing Director Charles Ongwae was yesterday charged with Sh64 million fraud.

Mr Ongwae was charged days after Kebs and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officials were charged with conniving to defraud the Government. Ongwae was, however, not in court when the rest were arraigned.

Breach of trust

Appearing before Senior Principal Magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot yesterday, Ongwae said he had travelled upcountry when his co-accused were pleading to the charges.

He was charged with conspiracy to defraud the Government, breach of trust and abuse of office.

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The court heard that on January 25, 2018 and January 26, 2018, jointly with others, he conspired to defraud the Government of revenue amounting to Sh4,315,654.00 by unlawfully imposing a penalty of 0.5 per cent instead of 15 per cent of the total custom value on import goods arriving without a certificate of conformity.

Authorised waiver

In the above count, he is charged alongside Eric Chesire (Quality Assurance director) and four directors of three companies — Samuel Kamau, George Kamau, Ibrahim Twahir Muhamed and Harrison Muchiri of Gendipe Enterprises, Rupai Trading Limited and Landmark Freight Services respectively.

Ongwae was also charged with another count of breach of trust contrary to the law.

Together with Chesire, they are accused of breach of trust by conspiring to defraud the Government of revenue amounting to Sh8,616,372 million by unlawfully imposing a penalty of 0.5 per cent instead of 15 per cent of the total custom value on import goods arriving  without a certificate of conformity.

The court was informed that the accused, being the Kebs managing director, unlawfully authorised the waiver of the penalty for import goods arriving without certificate of conformity from the country of origin.

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Mr Ongwae was charged alongside KRA officials Esther Wangui, Elizabeth Nyambura, Ali Thuo and Alex Maina.

Denied charges

Others are Cornelius Mwanyamba, Fredrick Cheruiyot and Harrison Ngugi.

The accused persons denied the charges.

“I request the court to grant me similar terms to those granted to my co-accused,” said Ongawae through is lawyer.

Ongwae was freed on Sh500,000 pending mention of the case on January 23, 2019.

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The court ordered him to appear before the Directorate of Criminal Investigations on January 7, 2019 to record a statement.

Kenya Revenue AuthorityKRAKebsKenya Bureau of Standards