Kenya, UK play blame game

February 5, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 5 – Kenya has pointed an accusing finger at the British government for the collapse of a probe into the Anglo-Leasing scandal.

Justice Minister Martha Karua has accused the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) of refusing to disclose information to Kenyan investigators over the scandal, therefore frustrating a joint investigation.

She however admitted that the government had not done its best to conclude the matter.

"They are saying we have not shown sufficient interest, well maybe yes, but also on their side I know they never want to release what has ever gone there," she claimed.

SFO announced on Wednesday that it had terminated its probe into the "Anglo Leasing affair", citing lack of cooperation from Kenyan authorities.

On Thursday, Britain’s High Commissioner to Kenya Rob Macaire called the termination of the SFO probe as a sad day for Kenya.

He said his government had accorded their full cooperation during the investigations into one of Kenya’s biggest corruption cases.

"There is no question of SFO not co-operating in this investigation as they have been attacking this case very aggressively," he said.

Mr Macaire said the SFO was unable to get all the evidence they needed on the case from the Attorney General Amos Wako. 

He however said that if evidence was received from Kenya in the future, the SFO would consider reopening the investigation.

"If there are allegations of major international frauds taking place and there is a UK element in that, then it’s in our interest to seal that," he said.

Mr Macaire has also asked the government to act on all senior government officials implicated in various corruption scandals in the country

Ms Karua on her part accused Western nations of refusing to surrender looted wealth stashed in their countries through corrupt deals done in Kenya.

"This is not an issue on one country, most of the western countries continue to hold billions looted here, but that however does not excuse our ineptitude," she said.
The SFO began its probe on July 2007, and was investigating offshore accounts that were used to transfer funds paid for sophisticated passport equipment, navy ships, and forensic science laboratories for the police force, which were never supplied.


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