Shameless Rape of a Motherland – Part 2

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By Kenya Confidential Economic Editor – Nairobi, January 11, 2020

President Uhuru is concentrating on arrests and prosecutions and ignoring Public Participation Awareness without which his War on Corruption will fail totally. He has chosen to play the role of a mortician pursuing postmortems in Corruption and not preventive campaigns. That makes his deputy William Ruto a very happy man since he does “not believe Corruption can stop a leader from delivering in Kenya” – where presidents deliver white elephants.

Kenya is hurtling towards a bloody revolutions at a speed no one in power seems to care about. Indeed, revent years have seen billions upon billions of shillings invested in foreign homes and Kenya politicians and business people acquiring dual citizenship of Western nations including islands such as Cyprus.

Kenyans are investing in real estate properties, including residential estates in Dubai in the Middle East and Far East countries when fellow citizens have no shelter and their president has housing as one of his Big 4 agenda. The Presidenr himself appears as far removed from the economic reality in his country where millions have no shelter and housing is one of his so-called Big 4 Agenda.

When President Kibaki took over in 2002, ordinary Kenyans were  so much fed up with CORRUPTION they were physically arresting traffic police taking bribes on roads. Their enthuasism was however, deflated by lack of prosecution of the errant cops.

Kibaki’s government on inheriting Moi, was also caught up in its own scandal, known as Anglo Leasing, which involved awarding huge government contracts to bogus companies. The truth of the matter is that Anglo Leasing scandal master mind, Deepak Kamani, came up with the phantom projects during the Moi era and Kibaki inherited them through his personal assistant Alfred Gitonga, head of civil service Francis Muthaura, finance minister David Mwiraria and then interior security minister Christopher Murungaru.

US Embassy Nairobi in February 2006 issued suspension of entry into the United States of the Anglo Leasing King pins as Alfred Getonga, Anura Perera, Deepak Kamani, Joseph “Jimmy” Wanjigi. 

Also caught in the dragnet  was Murungaru for his reportedly central role in a number of grand-scale corruption cases under the administration of Kibaki. The cable seeking visa suspension described as chief co-conspirators as Getonga, Perera, Kamani, and Wanjigi. 

“All were central figures in a network of corrupt government officials and private sector dealmakers that has systematically stolen, or attempted to steal, a cumulative sum as high as $700 million over the past three years by exploiting a secretive system of government security- related procurement contracts in Kenya.

These activities have had a serious adverse effect on U.S. national interests in Kenya, which include strengthening democratic institutions and the rule of law and fostering economic development.” said the cable. 

In April 2004, I furnished President Mwai Kibaki with a 25-page confidential report on the shadowy firm, Anglo Leasing and Finance Limited (Anglo Leasing) behind Ksh 55 billion in 18 contracts. It had secured two initial bogus contracts with the Government of Kenya. 

The first was for the supply of new secure passport issuing equipment, and the second for the construction of a police forensics lab. Together, the two contracts were worth a combined Ksh9,169,605,000 ($90 million).  That lab was commissioned last year 15 years later.

Anglo-Leasing, that secured 18 multi-billion-shillings contracts, was no more than a “P O Box company” with fictitious offices in the UK and Switzerland and no identifiable officers or management – except Deepak Kamani of the Moi era Police Mahindra fame. A  former Head of Civil Service and later Finance Minister Charles Nyachae told Parliament Kisii goats could run faster than the Mahindras.

Kibaki’s Permanent Secretary for Ethics and Governance, John Githongo jumped on the band wagon of investigations. 

Investigations revealed Anglo-Leasing to be only the tip of an iceberg of grand-scale theft. The Ministry of Finance to suspended payments and ordered forensic audits on 18 secretive security-related procurement contracts that followed a very similar pattern to that found in the Anglo-Leasing cases. 

This pattern involved a small clique of private- sector dealmakers working together with an equally small cadre of senior government conspirators. Together, they would generate proposals for large-scale government procurement contracts. The same scheme applied in National Youth Service procurement thefts.

The proposals frequently requested goods not needed or desired by the line ministry targeted to pay for them, and involved large upfront payments or commissions financed by loans arranged by the businessmen. The goods or services were either vastly overpriced or not supplied at all. 

This kind of scam generated enormous illicit profits, much of which were recycled by the businessmen who received the payments to the concerned government officials and other middlemen for personal gain or to finance future political campaigns. 

No wonder Top civil servants want nothing to do with ideas on Anti Corruption Awareness within government institutions – their cash cows. To them anti corruption inhouse awareness would be financial suicide.

As leader of Opposition in Parliament, Uhuru gave one of the most eloquent and persuasive arguments against honouring payments related to the shadowy Anglo Leasing contracts.

“Unless this House takes appropriate action, they will continue to exist even in the Government to come,” warned Uhuru, then the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), while moving the motion for the adoption of a special audit report on procurement of passport issuing equipment, one of the 18 shady contracts.

“I have no fear in saying that those individuals have no loyalty to this country but to themselves. They existed in the previous government and exist in the current one,” he said, referring to the Kanu regime under which the deals were conceived and its successor, National Rainbow Coalition, whose leaders steamrolled the gravy train.

As fate would have it, his Jubilee administration has been the one to pick part of the bills on the table with others waiting in the wings as the as-yet unknown contractors exert pressure that they too be cleared.

But eight years later and firmly in State House as Kenya’s fourth President, Uhuru was faced with the contradiction of the same payments having to be paid out on the back of contractual obligations and court decrees.

Interestingly when Anglo Leasing crooks sued the Kenya government over payment of some of the bogus contracts President Uhuru paid Ksh 1.4 billion to prevent cancellation of the first of a series of Eurobonds that have become a conduit of state borrowed cash into private bank accounts.

Githongo was later sued by Murungaru for defamation and a helfty award of Ksh 27 million in a typical case of corruption fighting back last May. He was ordered  to pay Murungaru Ksh20 million in general damages, Ksh 5 million in exemplary damages, and Ksh 2 million in special damages. The anti-corruption activist was also ordered to pay full interest on the award until Murungaru receives all his money, and the costs of the suit. He appealed.

President Uhuru is concentrating on arrests and prosecutions and ignoring Public Participation Awareness without which his War on Corruption will fail totally. He has chosen to play the role of a mortician pursuing postmortems in Corruption and not preventive campaigns. That makes his deputy William Ruto a very happy man since he does “not believe Corruption can stop a leader from delivering in Kenya” – where presidents deliver white elephants.

Arrests, prosecution and jail sentences come long after Grand Corruption has taken place, money stolen and public resources expropriated. Petty corruption is typically transacted between ordinary citizens and frontline public employees and usually entails paying a bribe to get a government service or to avoid sanction, for a traffic offence. 

Grand corruption is typically transacted between senior government officials and business, notably kickbacks for government tenders and contracts. Looting as large-scale economic delinquency, scams whose figures are mind-biggling that when they are successfully concluded, they have macroeconomic consequences. 

Looting schemes cause banks to collapse, inflation to rise and the exchange rate to decline. Looting differs from grand corruption in two ways. First, grand corruption entails cost inflation on budgeted projects, but the projects actually get done at inflated costs. 

Looting is premeditated in which money is put in the budget already earmarked to be stolen, and the projects and programmes are merely means of doing so. That explains the multi-billion-shilling stalled projects usually referred to as “white elephants”. 

Second, while grand corruption can be executed at any sufficiently high level of authority, looting is politically engineered, conceived and executed under the direction or with the acquiescence of the dominant political players wielding power unto themselves.

The kind of looting taking place in Kenya is unsustainable. Sooner or later an economic crunch will ensue as is evident with the budgetary crunch and the Kenya Revenue Authority efforts to tax mama mboga in the so-called “patriotic” tax. There is no boubt that the rigor mortis is seeting in on a dead economy.

Rigor Mortis is the stiffening of the body after death because of a loss of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) from the body’s muscles. ATP is the substance that allows energy to flow to the muscles and help them work and without this the muscles become stiff and inflexible. That is the situation with the Kenya economy whose public coffers – the economic ATP – has been drained by Corruption.

The escalation from Moi-Kibaki era Grand Gorruption to Jubilee party government looting is usually symptomatic of regimes which are so desperately insecure. The multiparty political tsunami precipitated Goldenberg. The 2020 Presidential race uncertainity has triggered the shameless rape of our Motherland.

Kibaki people came to power on a wave that they did not control. Kibaki was recovering from a near fatal accident, and Vice-President Michael Wamalwa started ailing shortly after assuming office and succumbed eight months later. 

Anglo Leasing was conceived to raise a war chest to finance an election campaign in the event of Kibaki’s demise. This puts perspective to the Jubilee administration’s looting spree. Uhuru and Ruto are the most insecure regime Kenya has ever had. No wonder #Rutocrats openly describe Kenya as a country flying on auto-pilot – with nobody in control – but Grace of God.

Last Word:

Evert cloud has a silver lining but clouds hovering over Kenya appear to be all dark as Uhuru convalescences carrying the heavy burden of corruption.