Nairobi — EVERYONE at the top in the coalition government is corrupt, according to former KACC director Justice Aaron Ringera, states a new cable leaked by Wikileaks.
"Ringera mused about Kenya's culture of impunity, describing what amounts to a kleptocracy," said the American economic counsellor in a diplomatic cable sent out by ambassador Michael Ranneberger on March 24, 2009.
"He said 'every mover and shaker' in each branch of government is corrupt. Ringera reported that during the formation of the Grand Coalition Government he provided President Kibaki with a list of severely compromised individuals who should not be permitted to serve in the new Cabinet. Ringera conceded that the President 'trashed the list' and appointed a rogue's gallery," states the cable.
The full details of this and other cables are available at www.wikileaks.ch/cablegate or www.wikileaks.nl/cablegate.
Last weekend Wikileaks issued the statement that, "The only authentic Wikileaks released documents are those posted in full on the Wikileaks websites. Any documents claiming Wikileaks as the source but not posted on the Wikileaks websites should be treated with caution".
The cable says of Ringera, "He emphasised that no 'big fish' would be charged" over corruption.
"Ringera said it was 'impossible' for the Grand Coalition Government to fight corruption because it would be 'killing itself'. However he also noted that he saw no alternative to the GCG," the cable states.
"Ringera encouraged the US government to pursue visa revocation/denial against high profile officials to help create a sense of accountability within Kenya's deeply corrupt political elite," says the cable.
However the economic counsellor was disappointed by the apparent lack of success of Ringera and the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission in investigating the Triton oil and maize scandals.
Ringera told the Americans that, "KACC had extensively interviewed witnesses without finding any evidence of high level involvement. 'It was petty corruption but with grand consequences,' he said, adding that the fraud at the Kenya Pipeline corruption went only as high as a computer manager who manipulated allocations of oil on Triton's behalf." The cable commented, "It strikes us . . . improbable that a scandal of this magnitude would not involve higher level officials." Triton owner Yagnesh Devani fled Kenya in January 2009 when it became clear that Triton had swindled over Sh7.6 billion of oil stocks out of companies using KPC facilities.
Since then Devani has held parties for Kenyans at his mansion in Northwood, London openly boasting that he can never be extradited back to Kenya because he can bring down too many people.
Over the maize scandal, Ringera told the embassy that, "the evidence showed negligence in the management of the Strategic Grain Reserve but no criminal activity... he characterised the misallocation of the bags as a 'commercial immorality' but again nothing criminal".
"Ringera said there was there no evidence of influence peddling by Agriculture minister Ruto or kickbacks. As with Triton, there was no evidence of 'big fish' involvement", the cable says.
The Americans were clearly not impressed by the disconnect between Ringera's general condemnation of Kenyan politicians and his lack of progress in investigating Triton and the maize scandals.
"Ringera and his office are losing the fight against large-scale corruption either through fatigue, a lack of legal weapons, or a genuine disinterest in taking on the toughest cases.
"The Director is starting to sound like he falls in the latter category. But his conclusions about the Cabinet and the 'feeding frenzy' we have described before continue to ring true. At this time, the leadership and resolve needed to take on those involved in corruption at the most senior levels is lacking within the government of Kenya," the cable concludes.