Economy

Witness tells court report on Anglo Leasing inconclusive

anglo

From Left: David Lumumba Onyonka, Joseph Mbui Magari and Dave Munya Mwangi during the hearing of the Anglo-Leasing case against them and three others in Nairobi on September 5, 2016. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU

A report relating to one of the Anglo Leasing contracts is inconclusive, an auditor has told a trial court even as he denied being under pressure from the Treasury to file it to delay payments to foreign companies named in the alleged scam.

Mr Evans Mwai, who headed a five-man team tasked with unravelling the Anglo Leasing mystery, said Monday his report, however, raised more questions than answers.

He conceded that despite being appointed as the Controller and Auditor General (in 2004), he was not a trained accountant but a graduate of Geography. He, however, denied that his report may have led to “serious errors” relating to his findings.

In cross examination, lawyer Ahmednassir Abdullahi maintained that Mr Mwai had served in a sensitive office without the necessary professional qualification and was not independent while drafting the Anglo Leasing report.

“They were doing you favours having you in a job you were not qualified for and you were acting under pressure from Mr Joseph Kinyua, a former PS to delay payments to the foreign firm,” he said.

The witness said additional information in his findings was solicited from other departments of government such as the office of the PS, Governance and Ethics but they did not attempt to interview or contact the suppliers and credit providers named in the alleged scam.

Mr Mwai also said government approvals of the controversial contracts involving the financing agreement for the computerisation of police security systems project code named E-Cops was approved and authorised by the former Finance minister David Mwiraria who instructed the PS Joseph Magari to sign the deal on the behalf of the government.

Defence lawyers representing Mr Mwiraria who is being tried in absentia, Mr Magari, Mr Dave Mwangi, Mr David Onyonka and businessmen Rashmi Kamani, Deepak Kamani and Infotalent Limited asked the witness to concur that “government approvals were — as required in law — in place and that money which had been paid to the company was refunded with an excess profit windfall arising from the difference in the foreign exchange rate at the time”.

He said therefore the question of fraudulent acquisition — which forms the basis of the charges facing the suspects — could not arise as no “cent was lost in the transaction”.

Mr Mwai told the court that the report he generated raised “pertinent queries that have not been answered to date.”

“The queries which remained unanswered included how the company in question was awarded the contract in the absence of competitive bidding, how the sum of Euros 59,688,250 was ascertained to be a fair and competitive price, why was the contract cancelled and whether it was ascertained that no liability would be incurred by the government if the contract was cancelled,” the witness said.

He was again taken to task over his qualifications but he said he did not need to be a trained accountant to oversee the auditing.

Mr Mwai could also not remember who the president was in 2003 and 2005 at the time he was serving as auditor general. Asked by defence lawyer Fred Ngatia for Mr Magari who the president was in 2003, he insisted that the then head of state was retired president Moi and that he could not recall who was in office in 2005.