Smith & Ouzman found guilty in corruption trial

Simon Nias
Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Smith & Ouzman (S&O) and two of its directors have been found guilty of making corrupt payments to secure print contracts in Kenya and Mauritania.

Smith
Smith

The Eastbourne security printer was convicted along with its chairman Christopher Smith (71) and sales and marketing director Nicholas Smith (43) at Southwark Crown Court on 22 December.

S&O and the two directors were convicted of three counts of corruptly agreeing to make payments totalling £395,074 to public officials for business contracts in Kenya and Mauritania.

The two other defendants charged by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), international sales director Timothy Forrester (57) and sales agent Abdirahman Omar (38), were both acquitted of corruptly agreeing to make payments.

Director of the SFO David Green CB QC, said: "This is the SFO's first conviction, after trial, of a corporate for offences involving bribery of foreign public officials. Such criminality, whether involving companies large or small severely damages the UK's commercial reputation and feeds corrupt governance in the developing world.

"We are very grateful to the Kenyan authorities for their assistance in this case."

The trial began on 10 November 2014 and the jury was sent out to consider its verdict on 17 December 2014.

The corruption case was dubbed "chickengate" by African media outlets after the repeated references to "chicken", which the SFO said was "the word used...for bribe", in email evidence.

Sentencing is due to take place on 12 February.

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