, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 8 – Kenyan authorities are burning the midnight oil in a bid to identify, freeze and seize properties that were obtained through the infamous Anglo leasing scam, as efforts to conclude the investigations gather pace.
Attorney General Githu Muigai told Capital FM News on Tuesday that Kenya hopes to identify the properties by the beginning of next year, with the help of two other countries excluding Switzerland.
He revealed that the government hoped to recover at least Sh3.8 billion out of impounding such assets, held domestically, regionally and overseas.
“It is going to take a while before we say that the first billion is in our banks but now I think we have turned the corner,” he said.
“This is a critical phase; we finally have the evidence we require to make the claims we require,” he added confidently.
The State Law Office has already received two tranches of evidence from Swiss authorities and is expecting the third.
Muigai added that his office had already jump-started the civil recovery process and had prepared cases with annexure of the evidence collected so far.
“We have also prepared applications for tracing and forfeiture of assets. How soon we will be able to get to court depends on what comes in with the third tranche,” he pointed out.
Muigai added that he would meet the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC), the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Director of the Criminal Investigations Department next Monday to get an update on the progress made in the investigations.
The four agencies also met on December 19 to agree on the best way of handling their inquiry to avoid duplication of roles.
“We are going to review how far we have gone in transcribing the material available and how far it has been distributed between the various bodies,” he revealed.
“I wish I could report faster progress but we are making progress and I have no doubt that in the foreseeable future we will be able to get to the heart of this problem.”
Kenya lost billions of shillings in the Anglo Leasing scandal which is thought to have started in 1997 and spanned several years.
In 2005, the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President in charge of Governance and Ethics John Githongo released a dossier containing detailed information of the fraudulent scheme, which begun with efforts to replace Kenya’s passport printing system.
The original tender for the passport equipment, to be sourced from a French firm, was six million euros but a British firm was contracted for 30 million euros.
Reports claim that the British company would have sub-contracted the same French firm to do the work.
According to Githongo’s report a non-existent company – Anglo Leasing and Finance – was awarded the contract.
He adversely mentioned top officials in the government at the time as the brains behind the fraud. All the officials denied any links to the scandal.
Githongo, who in the past claimed that his life was in danger, also submitted his report to President Mwai Kibaki and the then Kenya Anti Corruption Commission.
He has also claimed that there have been past attempts to blackmail him into dropping his investigations into the scam.