NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 2 – Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetangula has denied allegations that he was bribed by British American Tobacco company, terming the claims as ‘nauseating, unfortunate, scandalous, malicious and slanderous to the extreme’.
Addressing a press conference following the BBC expose, Wetangula insisted that he has never received any kind of bribe and said the report as malicious.
He was part of the Kenyan delegation that accompanied President Kibaki to the London Olympics which also coincided with an Investment Conference for Kenya at the time.
“I did travel in my capacity as the Ministry of Trade in the Grand Coalition Government. My travel and subsistence expenses were paid for by the then Ministry of Trade. Records to this effect are available at the Ministry”
The BBC, through its investigation programme, ‘Panorama’ has accused British American Tobacco (BAT) of bribing senior politicians and top civil servants in East Africa. The payments were revealed when a whistle-blower shared hundreds of secret documents.
According to documents with BBC, in July 2012, BAT lobbyist Julie Adelle-Owino requests the purchase of a business class plane ticket to London for Kenya’s former Minister for Trade, Moses Wetangula. The email says Wetangula will be “hosted at Globe House” – BAT’s London headquarters.
While in London, Wetangula said he and several members of the Kenyan delegation stayed at the Holiday Inn Regent Park Hotel.
“I do not know Globe House; I have never been to their address and do not know location.” He explained, “for the record, I have had no dealings of any nature whatsoever with BAT and Julie Adelle-Owino, the officer said to have facilitated the transaction, has categorically denied ever procuring a ticket for me.”
Wetangula stated: “I ask myself surely at my level and stature, then I was the minister for trade having served as minister for foreign affairs in this country in deputy capacity and full capacity for close to nine years, that I to a level of being bought a business class ticket to London when the government I was serving can buy me something of high quality.”
“I fail to understand this, if anyone wants to besmirch me for whatever reason at least use something credible, like President Kibaki said if you want to lie use some brains at least because you lie so crudely you look ridiculous.”
The company has already dismissed any bribery claims and attributed the report to vendetta orchestrated by former employees.