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Economy

Swiss lawyer explains involvement in graft suit

Swiss-based lawyer Marc Henzelin
Swiss-based lawyer Marc Henzelin testifies at an anti-corruption court July 19. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL 

Swiss-based lawyer Marc Henzelin on Thursday told the anti-corruption court hearing the controversial Anglo-Leasing case that the involvement of his law firm made it possible for the government to get crucial evidence from Switzerland within reasonable time.

He said the Attorney-General would have been able to get Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) from Switzerland directly but that it would have taken longer considering the fact that the AG would have required more time to know the relevant institutions to seek the assistance from.

“The AG was able to get MLA directly but without a law firm based in Switzerland, it was not going to be easy unless he was conversant with the Swiss law,” Dr Henzelin.

The accused through lawyer Duncan Okubasu, however, said that his appointment to act on behalf of the government was questionable because his law firm was not subjected to a competitive process as required under the Kenyan law, before it was picked.

Dr Henzelin said he had sought a power of attorney from the AG after it emerged that a similar document he had received from the then Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) director Justice Aaron Ringera, had been disputed.

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The High Court had ruled that KACC did not have the mandate to issue a power of attorney.

Lawyer Okubasu also took him to task for testifying without having authority of the Geneva Bar Association, and argued the power of attorney he had was illegitimate because he had prepared the two documents himself and gave one to justice Ringera and another ro Mr Wako to sign.

Mr Henzelin was testifying in a suit where businessmen Deepak Kamani, Rashmi Kamani and Chamanlal Kamani as well as former Permanent Secretaries Joseph Magari (Finance), Dave Mwangi (Provincial Administration), and David Onyonka (former head of debt management at the Treasury) who have been charged with corruption over the multibillion-shilling Anglo-Leasing contract in 2003 that the government later cancelled.

Hearing resumes on Friday.

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