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Kenyans to wait longer for Sh200m loot in Swiss banks




Kenyans to wait much longer for Sh200m loot in Swiss banks

Swiss authorities now say the funds will only be wired to Kenya subject to completion of judicial proceedings on Anglo Leasing cases. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenyans will have to wait much longer before receiving over $2 million (about Sh200 million), suspected to be proceeds of corruption that have been frozen in Swiss bank accounts as part of efforts to recover and repatriate looted funds.

The money is linked to the multibillion Anglo Leasing scam — one of the biggest frauds in the history of corruption in Kenya.

Swiss authorities now say the funds will only be wired to Kenya subject to completion of judicial proceedings on Anglo Leasing cases and a ruling on recovery of the money.

“(The) assets seized in Switzerland may be returned to Kenya based on a final and executable confiscation decision from the Kenyan Judiciary,” Ms Saskia Salzmann, a diplomatic attaché’ at the Embassy of Switzerland to Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia and Uganda, told the Sunday Nation.

“For the money to be returned, the court proceedings first have to end in Kenya. Currently, court proceedings in the Anglo Leasing case are still ongoing and a final verdict has not been reached,” she added in an interview.

Ms Salzmann said officials in Switzerland will discuss with Kenyan authorities a repatriation framework once a ruling to the effect that the monies are recovered is made.

An agreement signed by President Uhuru Kenyatta with Swiss authorities states that assets recovered will be used to support development objectives in areas such as health.

Ms Salzman said once the conditions are met, a discussion will take place under the Framework for the Return of Assets from Corruption and Crime to Kenya as to how best to return the money so that it benefits the population.

Businessmen Deepak Kamani, Rashmi Kamani, Chamanlal Kamani and former permanent secretaries Joseph Magari (Finance), Dave Mwangi (Provincial Administration), and David Onyonka (former head of debt management at the Treasury) are among those who have been charged with corruption over the multibillion shilling Anglo Leasing contract signed in 2003 that the government later cancelled.

Kenya is suspected to have lost more than $600 million (more than Sh60 billion) in the Anglo Leasing scam. The money was lost in 18 security-related contracts awarded to companies that did not render services or deliver goods paid for.

Some of the firms were later found to have supplied substandard equipment at highly inflated prices. Swiss authorities said in July last year that recovering the money was part of a revamped and wider offshore scrutiny of proceeds of sleaze and assets that corrupt Kenyans have hidden in the European country’s banks.

Top officials in former President Mwai Kibaki’s government were adversely mentioned in the Anglo Leasing scandal.

The list included former vice-president Moody Awori, former Internal Security minister Chris Murungaru and former Finance minister David Mwiraria.