The same individuals were involved in the creation of two Anglo Leasing type contracts for which Kenya controversially paid Sh1.4 billion on Thursday, sparking protests from opposition politicians and the Law Society of Kenya.
According to documents provided by Attorney-General Githu Muigai on Monday, both First Mercantile Securities Corporation and Spacenet Inc were linked to Kenyan businessman Anura Perera.
These are the two companies that President Uhuru Kenyatta directed National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich to pay Sh1.4 billion.
According to Prof Muigai, the money was a penalty for incomplete payments for the two contracts that Kenya signed with First Mercantile Securities and Universal Satspace in 2002.
“The man in front of you today is a mortician,” Prof Muigai told a Press conference in his office in Nairobi. “The patient died on the operating table. If you think the patient should have lived, ask the surgeons.”
He presented a statement dated May 14, 2014, signed by Solicitor General Njee Muturi and addressed to the Senate committee on Finance, Commerce and the Budget in which Mr Muturi linked Mr Perera to the two companies.
On First Mercantile, Mr Muturi said Mr Perera had confirmed that he had formed the company on December 11, 2000 and that he had been a director until 2005 together with his wife Ghazala Perera and Chritos Koumbis, his financial adviser.
On Spacenet Inc, he said the firm’s registered office is in McLean, Virginia and is a subsidiary of Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd whose registered office is in Israel.
“By a contract dated September 1, 2002, Spacenet Inc transferred its rights and obligations… to a sister company, Gilat Satellite Networks (Holland) BV, which is also a subsidiary of Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd (Israel)”.
The Israeli subsidiary was contracted by the Postal Corporation of Kenya to supply communication equipment for the parastatal. It then subcontracted the work to Gilat Alldean International, which later became Alldean Satellite Networks Ltd (Kenya), a company said to belong to Mr Perera (see separate story).
Companies have owners
“There has been an allegation that these companies are faceless. On the contrary, the companies have owners and the records as we have here are completely up to date,” Prof Muigai told reporters on Monday.
Prof Muigai has come under increasing pressure to resign from the Law Society of Kenya and from politicians allied to the opposition Coalition for Reform and Democracy (Cord) who at the weekend called for his ouster.
LSK, on the other hand, has threatened to strike the AG off its roll of senior counsel. On Monday, it petitioned Parliament to begin a process of removing Prof Muigai from office (see story on Page 5). It also wrote to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) requesting for an investigation into a possible crime of “conspiracy to defraud public finances through procurement of an irregular judgment”.
Later in the evening, it emerged that the association had asked the Law Society of England to investigate whether the Anglo Leasing ruling against Kenya in a London court was a conspiracy involving the British judge who handled the case.
In his defence, Prof Muigai said he should not be blamed for the scandal which led Kenya to pay the Sh1.4 billion to the two companies.
“The people who signed the contract have never been prosecuted,” he said. “How then were we to prove corruption? We know the people who signed it!”
He also denied allegations that government lawyers had deliberately mishandled the cases involving the two companies, leading Kenya to lose them in the London and Geneva courts.
“Any allegation that these cases were being mishandled for an ulterior motive…nothing could be further from the truth. Nothing could be more libelous of my officer, of my office and of myself,” he said.
“This unwarranted attacking in the media, in public meetings and at funerals to my office, my officers and myself have been injurious. The treatment meted out to me in the last 72 hours is totally unjustified. I very much wish there was a more responsible way.”
On whether the two companies actually supplied the equipment for which they were being paid, Prof Muigai had this to say: “It is not for the Attorney General’s office to say what has been supplied or not. But Ministry of Communications officials and their consultants (PwC) have consistently admitted that the broadband was supplied.”