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Serena: Amount of money we charged 'Cherera Four' to use our hotel

 IEBC commissioner Irene Masit during tribunal hearings at the KICD Headquarters in Nairobi on December 22, 2022. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Serena Hotel in Nairobi says it did not accommodate the four suspended IEBC commissioners on August 15, when they held a press conference to disown the presidential results declared by IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati.

The General Manager of Serena Hotel Anthony Chege told Justice Aggrey Muchelule, the chairperson of the tribunal investigating the four commissioners, that the senior IEBC officials only used their facility for a press conference, and were charged Sh60,000 for the service.

 The General Manager of Serena Hotel Anthony Chege during his submissions before the tribunal investigating four IEBC commissioners. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Chege said commissioners Juliana Cherera, Irene Masit, Justus Nyang'aya and Francis Wanderi used the facility for press conferences on August 15 and August 16, 2022.

"None of the commissioners were accommodated within our facility between 15th and 16th of August 2022," Chege said in a letter addressed to the tribunal's Lead Counsel Peter Munge.

The general manager said Serena Hotel allows its clients to use the facility for issuance of media communication.

"We, however, do not take any responsibility for the statements made," he said.

"We charge Sh30,000 for a press conference at the hotel gardens. The requests for the press conferences on 15th and 16th of August 2022 were made at the reception. The payments were settled at the reception," added Chege.

According to the general manager, one Edwin Ogwe paid Serena Hotel Sh30,000 via M-Pesa at 5:12pm on August 15, 2022.

The following day (August 16), when the four commissioners issued a follow-up press conference, Edwin Ogwe, again, paid Sh30,000 for the access of the hotel gardens. The payment was made via M-Pesa at 2:32pm that day.

On the tribunal's request to have access to surveillance camera recordings for August 15 and August 16 at the Serena Hotel, Chege said: "Nairobi Serena Hotel has a very large number of cameras of high resolution, which require large storage capacity. The system overwrites after 30 days. The 4-month old data is not recoverable."

He added: "We remain available for any other information required."

It is alleged that the four commissioners under investigation spent August 15 and August 16 nights at an accommodation facility in Yaya Centre after the Serena Hotel press conferences.

Yaya Apartments Accommodations Manager Simon Miller told the tribunal on Thursday, December 22 that Edwin Ogwe paid the facility the needed accommodation fees.

 Yaya Apartments Accommodations Manager Simon Miller during his submissions before the tribunal probing four IEBC commissioners. [Samson Wire, Standard]

During the commissioners' stay at the Yaya Apartments, former Cabinet Secretary (CS) in President Uhuru Kenyatta's administration Raphael Tuju met the IEBC officials, Miller said.

Commissioner Irene Masit, who is the only one yet to resign among the four accused IEBC officials, was present at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) Headquarters in Nairobi on Thursday, December 22, when the representatives of Serena Hotel and Yaya Apartments were giving their witness testimonies before the Justice Aggrey Muchelule-led tribunal.

 IEBC Commissioner Irene Masit with her lawyer Donald Kipkorir appear before the tribunal investigating four suspended IEBC commissioners. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Also lined up to give his witness statement on Thursday, was IEBC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Hussein Marjan.

The four suspended IEBC commissioners are accused of conspiring with senior members of the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya Coalition team to overturn the will of the Kenyan people in regard to the August 9, 2022 presidential election.

The accused officials are alleged to have attempted to favour Raila Odinga, President William Ruto's main opponent in the presidential contest.

IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati declared Ruto the winner of the presidential election with 7.18 million votes against Odinga's 6.94 million votes.

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