Israeli police on Sunday questioned Israeli-American billionaire Shari Arison in connection with an ongoing bribery investigation into the country’s largest construction firm, Shikun & Binui, which is alleged to have bribed Kenyan officials to win lucrative road tenders.
In a joint statement on Sunday, the Israeli police and the Israel Securities Authority said their investigation was focusing on suspicions that the company bribed foreign government officials to advance projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars in Kenya and other countries.
Ms Arison was summoned on Sunday along with another executive of Arison Group, Efrat Peled, by the Israeli police’s anti-corruption unit, Arison Group said in a statement.
“They cooperated fully and are certain there was no flaw in their conduct, and that this will also be the conclusion of the enforcement agencies,” the firm was quoted saying by Reuters.
Investigation into the Tel Aviv-based construction group is expected to also place a section of current and former Kenyan Transport ministry officials on the spot over their involvement in suspected corruption.
Israel police on February 20, opened investigations into the activities of Shikun & Binui’s former senior managers suspected of involvement in the bribery in Kenya.
The firm works in Kenya through its subsidiary Solel Boneh International Holdings (SBI Holdings).
SBI Holdings is the company that Nairobi picked to build the World Bank-funded Mau Summit-Kericho-Kisumu Highway at a cost of Sh14 billion in 2010.
Shikun & Binui said in February that four current and former employees of a foreign subsidiary had been detained for questioning by Israeli police on suspicion of bribery in Kenya and other African nations.
SBI, which is one of the largest contraction firms in Israel, has been bidding for other lucrative construction projects in Kenya.
The probe has turned the heat on those who served at the helm of the Transport and Infrastructure ministry at the time the suspect contracts were awarded.