Kenya asks evidence that tobacco firm bribed Wetang’ula and Narc-K’s Karua

Thursday February 25 2016

Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua addresses journalists at the party offices in Nairobi on December 21, 2015. The Attorney-General's office has written to the UK Serious Fraud Office requesting documents to use in the investigation in which BAT Kenya allegedly bribed Ms Karua and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula.  PHOTO | GERALD ANDERSON | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua addresses journalists at the party offices in Nairobi on December 21, 2015. The Attorney-General's office has written to the UK Serious Fraud Office requesting documents to use in the investigation in which BAT Kenya allegedly bribed Ms Karua and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula. PHOTO | GERALD ANDERSON | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By PETER LEFTIE
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Investigations have been opened into claims that Cord co-principal Moses Wetang'ula and Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua received bribes from the British American Tobacco (BAT) to sabotage anti-smoking laws.

Highly placed sources told the Nation on Wednesday that Attorney-General Prof Githu Muigai’s office has written to the UK Serious Fraud Office requesting documents that it could use to investigate the claims and prosecute the suspects.

“We have become aware of the existence of investigations into the activities of British American Tobacco company in which some prominent Kenyans could have been involved in fraudulent dealings. Kindly give us this information to help us commence prosecutions legally,” the source quoted the letter as saying.

The request was sent on Friday, said our source, who requested anonymity because she is not authorised to speak for the State Law office.

A former BAT employee Paul Hopkins told the BBC late last year that he bribed both Mr Wetang'ula and Ms Karua on behalf of the giant cigarette maker.

He claims the company paid for a business class return flight for Mr Wetang’ula’s wife to London with a view to gaining favour from the Bungoma senator who was then Minister for Trade in the grand coalition government.

The company, Mr Hopkins further claims, gave a Sh7.5 million bribe to Ms Karua to help it gain access to confidential information relating to anti-tobacco smuggling.

Ms Karua has admitted receiving a Sh2 million “donation” to her presidential campaign from Mr Hopkins.

But Mr Wetangula has denied the allegations and sued the BBC for defamation.

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