NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 5 – Father and sons Chamanlal Kamani, Deepak and Rashmi have denied conspiring to defraud the Government of Kenya of Sh10 billion through the infamous ‘Anglo Leasing’ deals of 2002 to 2004.
The three who appeared before Chief Magistrate Hannah Ndung’u on Thursday pleaded “not true” to two counts of conspiring to defraud GoK and three counts of fraudulently acquiring public property through Sound Day Corporation, Apex Finance Corporation and Infotalent Limited.
Rashmi and Deepak who were described on the charge sheet as “the beneficial owners” of Infotalent, are accused of receiving half a billion shillings from GoK without delivering services in a project code named E-Cops as it was for the computerisation of security, law and order systems and procedures for the Kenya Police.
Chamanlal was separately charged with his two sons for fraudulently acquiring Sh121 million from the Ministry of Finance through Sound Day Corporation and Apex Finance Corporation “on the pretext that they were able to provide credit to the Government of Kenya for purchase of Security equipment under modernisation of police equipment and accessories project.”
Their lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi described the charges as “small felonies,” and asked that his clients be released on reasonable bail terms given the three accused are members of the same family and it was coming “from the same basket.”
“My lady if you look at the charges which my clients are facing, it’s not really that earth shaking as everybody was made to believe,” he submitted to Ndung’u.
He also argued that the matter should be before the commercial courts and not the Anti-Corruption Court as it was a contractual dispute.
Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko’s response was that “40 million Euros by any standard is an earth shaking matter,” and that the accused were properly before the Anti-Corruption Court given the fraud underpinning the charges against them.
He also opposed Abdullahi’s application that Rashmi and Chamanlal not be required to deposit their passports with the court given the former is domiciled in Dubai and the latter’s advanced age, 87, and need for medical care in India.
“If all those elderly and sickly persons were to be treated preferentially, then one can assume then that those who are of advanced age may have the motivation to commit crime. Besides, we have excellent doctors and hospitals in Kenya,” he countered.
The Chief Magistrate agreed with him and directed that all three accused deposit their passports with the court.
The fact that Kenya does not have an extradition treaty with the United Arab Emirates, she agreed with Tobiko, made it all the more imperative for Rashmi not to leave the court’s jurisdiction without its express permission.
She did however grant the release of the three accused on bond with Chamanlal being given the option to pay Sh10 million in bond or an alternative cash bail of Sh2 million while Deepak and Rashmi were ordered to pay either Sh20 million in bond or Sh4 million in cash bail each, to secure their release.
They are scheduled to appear before the Anti-Corruption Court for a mention on March 18 when Sound Day, Apex Finance and Infotalent have been summoned to take their pleas.
Their co-accused and former finance Minister David Mwiraria is also expected to take his plea then after his lawyer Kioko Kilukumi informed the court on Wednesday that his client had been admitted to hospital following a hip replacement.