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US Congress demands Kenya arms deal details 

Kenya's military in Somalia. The Kenyan government is yet to issue an official statement on the now controversial arms deal. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Kenya's military in Somalia. The Kenyan government is yet to issue an official statement on the now controversial arms deal. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A US Congress investigative committee has demanded key documents related to the proposed Sh43 billion ($418 million) sale of armed border-patrol aircraft to Kenya for use against Al-Shabaab terrorists.

The US Air Force, which arranged the deal, has been ordered by the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee to produce a set of specified materials “as soon as possible, but no later than noon on June 2.”

Congressman Ted Budd, the leading critic of the pending agreement between the Kenyan government and New York-based L3 Technologies, welcomed the committee’s action as “the next step on a long road to finding out what actually happened with the Kenya deal.”

“We’ll soon find out if this flawed sale is the result of incompetence, or if there is something more serious going on,” Mr Budd said on Tuesday.

In a letter sent last week to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, the chairman of the US House oversight committee noted that “L3 has no weaponised border patrol aircraft in service and has limited past performance in manufacturing aircraft of this type.”

Iomax, a military contractor based in Mr Budd’s district in the state of North Carolina, has 48 of these planes currently in combat service in the Middle East.

Iomax has said it can fulfill Kenya’s request for a dozen of the armed border-patrol aircraft and related items and services for Sh12.5 billion ($127 million) less than the amount L3 is said to be charging.

The cost of the proposed agreement between Kenya and L3 indicates that US “taxpayers and American allies have been overcharged by millions,” Mr Budd said.

The Kenyan government is yet to issue an official statement on the now controversial arms deal.

The Republican lawmaker noted that the Air Force has “stonewalled” his own requests for documents pertaining to the Kenya-L3 arrangement.

He said he was told by the Air Force that the documents in question were “for official use only” or “sensitive, but unclassified.”

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