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Inside the Forgotten Anglo Leasing Scandal

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Kenya has had a number of scandals all of which have somehow lost it money. The most memorable one perhaps being the National Youth Service Scandal or the Goldenberg Scandal with the now pastor Kamplesh Pattni and his partner in crime Ketan Somaia. These are only memorable because they are recent, the memories of the events still fresh in our minds. What made the Goldenberg Scandal popular was the public trial. The inquiry was headed by the then Chairman and a feared face in the Judiciary, justice Samuel Bosire. What most Kenyans do not know about and may have only heard about in passing, is the Anglo-leasing scandal that cost Kenya three times it’s annual budget in losses.

The Anglo-leasing scandal is one that has never really fully been explored because of the big names that were adversely mentioned as beneficiaries and the lack of substantive information around the whole deal and it’s brokerage. In shorter terms, the Anglo-leasing project was initially a project by the government of Kenya to procure some security facilities to improve the country’s security capacity. Terrorists had taken the world by storm and even the world’s most secure country had just been infiltrated by militia and the Kenya Government was looking to improve its preparedness. The brokerage primarily involved three factions, a government in need of security equipment, a supplier of the security equipment and a credit facility that would facilitate the delivery of the security equipment including forensic laboratories. This is when the Anglo-leasing corporation approached the government as a benefactor of both the supplies and the credit facility.

Everything was smooth and even monies were paid to various accounts untill John Githongo, the then Government Ethics chairman blew the whistle. While on a tour to the United Kingdom, he sought to ascertain the registration status of the Anglo-leasing corporation which was syphoning millions from the Kenyan government. Through a letter dated February 10, 2004, Kroll Associates which had been contracted by Githongo to investigate Anglo Leasing Corporation, confirmed that no such Company had been registered in, nor transacting business within the United Kingdom under that name. That is when suspicions arose. Although the office of the Attorney General had recommended that the Ministry of Finance then headed by the late David Mwiraria ascertain the corporation’s competed projects, the ministry had gone ahead and paid about 3% of the project value of the project to the corporation without the recommended due diligence. Upon the return of Githongo with his findings to the President Kibaki, the faces behind the Anglo-leasing scandal were unmasked.

In November of 2005, President Mwai Kibaki sacked Christopher Murungaru and David Mwiraria from cabinet, Kiraitu Murungi a close friend of Murungaru also suspiciously resigned at that time.
In the same year, charges were drawn against several prominent people linking them to the scandal, the Khamani family were at the behest represented by Deepak Khamani. Jimmy Wanjigi, Anura Pereira and Alfred Getonga were among the accused. Later on in February, 2006, the United States government through its high commission, suspended entry of the above into the United States. It appears that the Khamanis had been in bed for a long time with corruption Government officials and that created a rapport between them and the GOK. Since then, another three schemes were exposed involving the Khamanis, one is the supply of 1000 pieces of Mahindra jeeps at the cost of ksh. 1 million each in the 90s. The Anglo Leasing contract alone was worth about $ 70 billion and to think it was a bogus state security contract. The names mentioned were feared names in the Moi Government and following the assassination trends that had characterised Moi’s rule, Githongo sought asylum and fled to an unknown location in fear of his safety.

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