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Monday, February 18, 2008

Anglo Leasing, Let Justice Be Done And Be Seen To Be Done - Watch The Globebetel/ Midland Finance & Securities Limited Contract Case On Tuesday Februa

Eight months ago, on Wednesday 9th May 2007, Maoka Maore,then MP for Ntonyiri (KANU) rose during a heated Parliamentary exchange with Finance Minister, Mr. Amos Kimunya and with flourish tabled copies of 36 irrevocable promissory notes, worth Euro 49,650,000 (Ksh 4.4 Billion) issued by the Finance Ministry in early 2003 to Midland Finance & Securities Limited.

This transaction is one of 18 security related “Anglo Leasing type” contracts that are widely regarded as corrupt. In fact, it was the first of the Anglo Leasing type contracts signed by the Kibaki administration in 2003. Ksh 4.4 billion worth of irrevocable promissory notes were issued ostensibly to guarantee repayments for a loan by Midland Finance to the Government of Kenya to pay for a digital multi-channel security systems telecommunications network for the Administration Police. Globetel Inc was meant to supply and install the system. According to the investigations by the Controller and Auditor General no such loan was made, and the system was not supplied. Each and every one of the irrevocable promissory notes was backed by a legal opinion by the Attorney General of Kenya, Mr. Amos Wako, dated June 17th 2003, which Mr. Maore also tabled.

Prior to the appearance of the copies, Mr. Kimunya told Parliament that the Telecommunications Network for Administration Police project: “never started and it is still the subject of protracted issues. No promissory notes were issued against this project and there is no refund, because no payments were made in respect of this.”

The first part of this statement is true: the Administration Police never got their telecommunications network. The second statement, that no payments were made, is definitely not true. Evidence shows that as of April 2004, millions of dollars were being transferred out of Kenya via Jersey and Frankfurt into the numbered Swiss bank account of Midland Finance & Securities Limited.

To further contradict all his prior positions on the Anglo Leasing affair, six days before the 2007 election the Minister of Finance issued a public caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) notice disavowing irrevocable promissory notes issued to seven companies – including Midland Finance & Securities Limited.

The Cause List of the High Court of Kenya shows that on Tuesday 12th February 2008, Justice Nyamu and/or Justice Wendoh will hear the parties in a case brought by Midland Finance and Securities and Globetel Inc against the Government of Kenya on two Anglo Leasing type supplier and the finance contracts for an Administration Police telecommunications network. Their case is that they are entitled to payment of the full contractual amount (up to Ksh 4.4 Billion), even as the contracts have been condemned by reports of the Controller and Auditor General, the Parliamentary Accounts Committee and the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission.

Kenyans should hold a watching brief on this case to ensure that justice is not only done but manifestly seen to be done.

It would be unacceptable if this case were lost or settled to the disadvantage of the public interest. It would be a tragedy if section 25A of the Anti Corruption and Economic Crimes Act were invoked. It will be recalled that section 25A reintroduced the rejected idea of amnesty for corruption and economic crimes. Worse it allows the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC) in consultation with the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs and the Attorney General to give “undertakings” including to the subject of corruption investigations “not to institute or continue with investigations against any person suspected of an offence under this Act.”

As Tanzanians demonstrate against grand corruption in their country, surely Kenyans can likewise show they will not condone it in ours?

Let justice be done, and be seen to be done.