Smith & Ouzman quartet plead not guilty to charge

The bosses of an Eastbourne printing company which specialises in producing ballot papers have denied paying bribes to win overseas business contracts.

Christopher Smith, 70, the former chairman of Smith & Ouzman Ltd, and sales and marketing director, Nick Smith, 42, are accused of paying more than £400,000 in bribes in Africa.

International sales manager, Tim Forrester, 46, and company agent, Abdirahman Omar, 38, are also said to be involved in the alleged plot, between November 2006 and December 2010.

The charges relate to some £413,552.12 worth of transactions in Mauritania, Ghana, Somalia and Kenya, Southwark Crown Court was told.

Among the organisations said to have been targeted were the Independent Electoral Commission of Kenya, the Kenyan National Examination Council, the Mauritanian Ministry of the Interior and the National Electoral Commission of Somaliland.

All four men spoke only to confirm their names and enter not guilty pleas.

Smith & Ouzman, which is based in Brampton Road, was incorporated in 1939 and also provides exam certificates and payment slips.

Christopher Smith, of Ripe, Lewes, Nicholas Smith, of Cavendish Avenue, and Forester, of Victoria Drive, both in Eastbourne, East Sussex, Omar, of Sandymount Avenue, Stanmore, northwest London, deny corruptly agreeing to make payments.

The trial is set begin on November 10.

All four men were released on bail ahead of their trial fixed for November 10.