Switzerland hands over Anglo Leasing dossier

September 22, 2012 9:57 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 22 – Switzerland has handed over to the Kenyan government the final batch of documents relating to the multi-billion shilling Anglo Leasing scandal.

The handover, which included banking records, was in response to requests by Kenyan authorities for legal assistance in the case – in which a number of individuals are suspected of procuring lucrative government contracts by bribing civil servants.

Although the information was handed to the Swiss lawyer representing the Kenyan authorities, Swiss investigations into individuals suspected of money laundering in the case will proceed.

“Switzerland has been conducting proceedings against three persons on suspicion of money laundering since April 2009 in connection with the same affair. During the course of the criminal investigations, a number of bank accounts in Switzerland had been identified and frozen. The office had also analysed financial transfers,” Jeannette Balmer, the spokeswoman for the Federal Prosecutor’s Office said.

“The findings made so far from these analyses let the office send its own requests for mutual legal assistance to various states,” she added.

The information will be handed over to Attorney General Githu Muigai’s office early next week.

The 2002 scandal involves State contracts in which hundreds of millions of dollars were awarded to non-existent firms for goods and services that never materialised, including forgery-proof passports, satellite dishes and forensic laboratories.

Details of the companies affected by the request are confidential. However, a report in the German-language Neue Zürcher Zeitung in August 2010 said 18 state contracts were involved, and that in 11 of these cases the trail led to Switzerland in the form of front companies or their branch offices.

The Kenyan Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) first asked the Swiss authorities for help in 2007, but this action was blocked when the Kenyan Supreme Court ruled that the KACC did not have the authority to make the request. It was only when this ruling was overturned on appeal in 2010 that the commission director was able to re-submit it.

By the end of 2011, the Swiss prosecutor’s office had issued 12 rulings in favour of handing over the evidence requested by Kenya. However, the companies concerned in five of these cases contested the decision and appealed unsuccessfully to the Federal Criminal Court.

They then had 10 days in which to consider whether to appeal to the Federal Court, Switzerland’s highest legal body.

This period has now lapsed, clearing the way for the handover of the documents.
Ever since the matter came to light in 2004 only one person – a former senior government official has been convicted of abuse of office.

Earlier this month, Former Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Sylvester Mwaliko was fined Sh3 million failure to which he will face three years in jail in default, after he was found guilty of facilitating the Sh7 billion Anglo Leasing scandal.

Mwaliko was found guilty by trial magistrate Lucy Nyambura who ruled that the prosecution had proved beyond reasonable doubt that he acted in disregard of procurement laws.

The anti corruption magistrate said the former accounting officer was guilty of arbitrarily awarding and facilitating the Anglo Leasing contract.



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