Economy

National Assembly clerk dragged into Anglo Leasing case

clerk

Clerk of the National Assembly Michael Rotich Sialai. PHOTO | ROBERT NGUGI | NMG

Summary

  • Mr Michael Sialai will testify on the letter dated December 19, 2006, by the Office of the Clerk to the then defunct Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) which says the 18 Anglo Leasing contracts received annual estimates of budgetary expenditure.
  • The summons emerged during the second day of hearing the defence of Transport Chief Administrative Secretary Chris Obure against the graft-related charges leveled against him in relation to the scandal.

A court has summoned the Clerk of the National Assembly to confirm the authenticity of a document that suspects in one of the Anglo Leasing-type scandals are using to defend themselves.

Mr Michael Sialai will testify on the letter dated December 19, 2006, by the Office of the Clerk to the then defunct Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) which says the 18 Anglo Leasing contracts received annual estimates of budgetary expenditure.

The letter signed by S.W Ndindiri indicates that none of the 18 projects were individually presented to the House for debate.

“During the years under reference (1996/97 to 2003/04), the record we have is that of the presentation of the Annual Estimates of expenditure which for each year lump together all ministries and government departments and their annual financial provision,” it reads.

“Each year these were approved during debate in the Committee of Supply. The Appropriation Act for each year was accordingly passed thereafter to give legal effect to the annual estimates”.

The author informed the anticorruption watchdog that “the Hansard would therefore not reflect any debate on the individual projects”.

The summons emerged during the second day of hearing the defence of Transport Chief Administrative Secretary Chris Obure against the graft-related charges leveled against him in relation to the scandal.

Prosecutors objected to the defence counsels’ use of the letter to prove that there was no arbitrary expenditure of public funds on the Sh1.3 billion contracts linked to procurement of equipment for the Postal Corporation of Kenya.

“The document is not from the Anti-Corruption Commission or the Director of Public Prosecutions. Its authenticity cannot be confirmed, so it cannot be used. The DPP is not saying it is a forgery but there are procedures on production of documents,” said a Prosecution lawyer.

Senior Principal Magistrate Anne Mwangi further heard that investigators of the scandals did not recommend prosecution of Mr Obure, a former Finance Cabinet Minister, over one of the contracts linked to procurement of equipment for the Postal Corporation of Kenya.

Prosecution says on July 11, 2002, the government of Kenya on a single-sourcing basis, signed a contract agreement with a US-based company, Spacenet Corporation, worth US dollars 11,787,000 (approximately Sh1,301,284,800) to supply equipment and services to be acquired by Postal Corporation of Kenya (PCK).

The equipment was named as VSAT hardware, computer servers, software licenses and other communication services.

The court further heard that the investigators filed two reports to the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) with recommendation of persons to be charged for the alleged economic crimes and abuse of office.

While defending himself from the charges facing him, Mr Obure told court that he was only included at the time the DPP raised the charges against the accused persons implicated in the scam.

“My name cropped up at the moment the DPP was raising the charges. Investigator said the charges are anchored on the basis of the reports,” he stated during the second day of defending himself in the scam that began under the administration of President Daniel Moi.

The DPP received the files in 2014 while the accused persons were arraigned in court in March 2015. He is accused of abusing public office, breaching public trust and conspiring to defraud the government the money.

Mr Obure fought off the charges saying even the evidence by the prosecution witnesses absolves him from any wrongdoing.

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