16 November 2011

Kenya: Corruption Commission Investigates Mutula

JUSTICE minister Mutula Kilonzo has recorded a statement with Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission distancing himself from a company that benefited from the acquisition of 12 plots from Kenya Airports Authority in Mombasa. In a statement written on November 1, 2011, Mutula denies links with Ashar Ltd which allegedly received Sh12 million from the sale of the plots. Mutula's statement referred to two previous letters to the EACC on July 14 and July 20, 2011

In January 2010 EACC charged President Moi's former personal assistant Joshua Kulei, former Lands Commissioner Wilson Gachanja, businessman Prakash Bundia, former KAA Director Kipyegon Langat and former Kenya Pipeline Company boss Ezekiel Komen with conspiracy to defraud KAA out of 12 plots belonging to Moi International Airport Mombasa in 1999.

The land was sold to East African Gas Company. Kulei, Gachanja, Komen and Langat denied the charges and are out on a Sh1 million bond. Bundia is in the UK but the government has not yet sought his extradition. Kulei was charged with illegally obtaining Sh12 million from East Africa Gas Company in May 1999 by pretending that Ashar Ltd had rendered engineering and foundation laying services on its behalf.

He was further accused of obtaining Sh5.9 million from East Africa Gas Company in June 1999 by pretending that Sian Ltd, a firm associated with him, had paid land rent, rates and assessment fees on behalf of the company. Gachanja, Langat and Bhundia were accused of facilitating the transfer of 12 parcels of land irregularly excised from Moi International Airport in Mombasa to East African Gas Company Ltd in May 1999.

In his statement, Mutula denied involvement in Ashar Ltd. "I recall that my firm incorporated the company Ashar Limited and my Partner Ms Mululu and I subscribed to its Memorandum and Articles of Association as Trustees and Nominees for Reverend Dr Jones Kaleli upon his instructions and request," states Mutula in his statement to the EACC at Cooperative Bank House.

Kaleli was a close associate of President Moi. According to the website of Liberty University in Virginia, US, where he is an associate professor, Kaleli was the founding provost of Kabarak University where he served until August 2005. States Mutula, "I wish to state that from incorporation to date that company Ashar Limited has never required opening or operating a bank account.

I further wish to state that the information and documents shown to be by Kenya Anti Corruption Commission Investigators indicating that Ashar Limited operated a bank account at Transnational Bank Limited are strange to me. I am not aware of any instance, when the company operated an account with any bank."

The Ashar account at Transnational was allegedly opened by a bank accountant who now owns a chain of businesses in Nairobi. Mutula told the anti-corruption commission that, "If such an account exists, then the use of Ashar Limited as the account name or holders can only be an identity theft and I appeal for a conclusive and thorough investigation and prosecution of those behind such crime."

"Lastly, I wish to state that I do not know Prakash Bhundia, neither I have ever dealt with anybody by that name. That is all I wish to state for now," said Mutula.

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