Benson Gethi, IEBC officials found guilty in IEBC lanterns tender case

Benson Gethi Wangui and Joyce Makena in court. Photo/Courtesy

Controversial businessman Benson Gethi Wangui, his cousin’s step daughter and several IEBC employees have been found guilty in the Sh 105 million IEBC tender case.

The tender was for the supply of lanterns to be used in the 2013 general elections.

Anti-Corruption Chief Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi ruled that the prosecution has proven the case against the accused persons beyond reasonable doubt.

Gethi was charged alongside Joyce Makena, Adan Katello Adano, Abdi Elema Ali, Kennedy Gaunye Ochae, Gabriel Ngonyo Mutunga, Willy Gachanja Kamanga and Solarmak Technologies Limited.

However, Adano and Ali were acquitted of the charges of conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption. The two were new at IEBC and had only stayed for a few weeks.

“The two were freshmen at the commission and were vulnerable,” the magistrate ruled.

Gethi, Makena and Solarmak Limited were found guilty of two counts of forgery.

The three are accused of forging a tax compliance certificate and a certificate of incorporation for the said company.

Gethi’s defense

In his defence, Gethi who is the director of Solarmak together with Makena, said that the company was registered by his cousin Peter Njoroge in 2008 who requested him to become a director.

He denied being involved in the IEBC tender and signing any documents

However, Gethi could not tell the court who runs the said company.

The court found that his defense was not genuine and that he was criminally culpable.

“I find the entire defense by the 6th accused (Gethi) is crafted and not genuine,” the magistrate ruled.

Makena on her part, told the court that she was not involved in the said company and has never traded through it.

She said that Solarmak was registered by her step father Njoroge, who made her a director.

Makena added that she was not aware of the said tender and only came to know about it when she was charged.

It was her submission that when Solarmak was registered in 2008, she was still a minor.

When asked to substantiate that she was underage by providing an ID, she failed to do so.

The magistrate ruled that a crime was committed and the two directors were criminally culpable.

“The prosecution has proved the two charges against them beyond reasonable doubt,” CM Mugambi added.

IEBC officials Ochae (Secretary) Mutunga (Procurement officer) and Kamanga (procurement Manager) were found guilty.


The officials were accused of colluding to change a tender document. They also faced a charge of careless failure to comply with the law relating to procurement.

CM Mugambi found Mutunga to have been the mastermind of the crime.

The secretary was also found to have played a big role including incorporating the two freshmen.

Kamanga was found criminally culpable since he was head of procurement at the commission.

Solarmark Technologies allegedly bid for the supply of lanterns for use at the general election at a cost of Sh 127,400,000.

The company had been contracted to procure 30,000 solar lanterns to the IEBC before the public procurement appeals board reversed the results following complaints from another bidder.

The company was to supply the lanterns for Sh 127 million while a competing company, Konnexions Systems Ltd, had offered to provide the lamps for Sh 107 million.

However, Solarmak Technologies’ tender documents were later altered to read Sh105 million.

A former IEBC official had testified that the tender documents which were opened by the IEBC tender committee indicated that Solarmark was the lowest bidder having quoted that it would supply 3,750 units of lanterns totaling to 28,000 at a cost of Sh 105,400,000.

However, in the IEBC tender register, Solarmark indicated it would supply the lanterns at a cost of Ksh 127,400,000.

Gethi is also a key suspect in the Sh 791 million NYS case that is still pending before court.