20 July 2018

Kenya: Swiss Lawyer Explains Involvement in Anglo Leasing Case

A Swiss-based lawyer, Dr Marc Henzelin, on Thursday told court during hearing of the controversial Anglo Leasing case that the involvement of his law firm made it possible for the government of Kenya to get crucial evidence from Switzerland within reasonable time.

He said the Attorney General would have been able to get Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) from Switzerland directly but that it would have taken longer considering the fact that the AG would have required more time to know the relevant institutions to seek the assistance from.

Lawyer Duncan Okubasu said that his appointment to act on behalf of the Kenya government was questionable because his law firm was not hired through a competitive process. Dr Henzelin said he had sought a power of attorney from the AG after it emerged that the power of attorney he had received from Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission Director, Justice Aaron Ringera, had been disputed.

The High Court had ruled that KACC did not have the mandate to issue a power of attorney. Lawyer Okubasu took Dr Henzelin to task for testifying without having authority of the Geneva Bar Association, and argued the power of attorney he had was illegitimate.

Dr Henzelin countered that his law firm, Lalive, which has over 90 lawyers, was appointed because it was already assisting the government with other legal matters before the Swiss courts.

Dr Henzelin was testifying in a suit where businessmen Deepak Kamani, Rashmi Kamani and Chamanlal Kamani, former Permanent Secretaries Joseph Magari (Finance), Dave Mwangi (Provincial Administration), and David Onyonka (former head of debt management at the Treasury) have been charged with corruption over the multi-billion-shilling Anglo-Leasing contract in 2003 that the government later cancelled.

Hearing resumes Friday.

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