Central Bank of Kenya to pursue Pattni

March 10, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 10 – The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) now says it will continue with the Goldenberg case against businessman Kamlesh Pattni and three former senior civil servants.

Lawyer Chacha Odera told Nairobi Chief Magistrate Gilbert Mutembei that CBK was willing and available to play whatever role was required of it by the Attorney General in respect to the criminal proceedings against Mr Pattni, former Deputy Governor Eliphaz Riungu, former Treasury PS Wilfred Koinange and one-time Kenya Commercial Bank Managing Director Elijah arap Bii.

The advocate told the magistrate that CBK could not choose to drop charges against Mr Pattni despite the fact that he handed back the Grand Regency Hotel (now Laico Regency Hotel) to the bank.

“The fact that Mr Pattni handed back the hotel to the bank does not mean he has no criminal liability. It is not up to CBK to say it intends to proceed or drop accusations levelled against him,\’\’ he said.

Mr Odera gave the indication after the court summoned CBK Governor Njuguna Ndung\’u two weeks ago requiring him to explain whether the bank intended to continue with its complaint against Mr Pattni and his co-accused.

But defence lawyers Bernard Kalove, Stephen Mwenesi and Kirathe Wandugi representing the accused opposed the directive and urged Mr Mutembei to terminate the proceedings against them arguing the AG has no case.

They accused the AG of being indecisive on how he wants the matter prosecuted as there is no proper complaint against the suspects to prove the conspiracy charges they are facing.

“The AG has no sufficient grounds to prosecute the allegations of conspiracy that are very hard to prove against the accused,” the lawyers argued.

“It is also difficult to say what role he intends to play with Mr Riungu, Mr Koinange and Mr Bii because the main complaint against Mr Pattni has since been resolved.\’\’

Mr Mutembei will determine the matter on April 22.

The CBK is alleged to have written a letter to the Attorney General in January saying it has withdrawn complaints against Mr Pattni.

The AG has denied any involvement in the controversial settlement between Mr Pattni, CBK and the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission.

The four accused persons have denied conspiring to steal Sh5.8 billion from Treasury to Goldenberg International from April 19 to June 1993.

They are out on Sh10 million bond each with two sureties of similar amount.


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