Wako blames AG for Anglo Leasing

Tuesday May 20 2014

Busia Senator Amos Wako (L) with Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen at a past meeting. PHOTO | FILE

Former Attorney-General and Busia Senator Amos Wako (L) Tuesday denied any responsibility in the loss of Anglo Leasing cases for which Kenya paid Sh1.4 billion last week. PHOTO | FILE NATION MEDIA GROUP

By AGGREY MUTAMBO
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Former Attorney-General Amos Wako Tuesday denied any responsibility in the loss of Anglo Leasing cases for which Kenya paid Sh1.4 billion last week.
Mr Wako, who was the AG between 1991 until 2011, instead shifted blame to Attorney-General Githu Muigai, saying he should take full responsibility because he was in charge when the cases were going on.

“Prof Githu took over office from me immediately after the filing of the defence on Anglo Leasing cases.
“He should therefore bear full responsibility and stop dragging my name into this since I had long left the office during the defence process,” said Mr Wako in a statement from Geneva.

Mr Wako spoke as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission also refused to take blame, saying it provided evidence to prosecute the individuals involved.

EACC spokesman Yasin Amaro told the Nation the commission did its best to investigate the cases but the country’s legal system “became its own barrier”.
On Monday, Prof Muigai said he was only a “mortician conducting final rites to a case whose killers were still free”.

“The patient died on the operating table a long time ago. If you think the patient should have lived, ask the surgeons. The people who signed the contracts have never been prosecuted. How then were we to prove corruption?” he asked.

But Mr Wako, who is the Busia Senator, said he had handed office to a person in the same capacity as his.

“If I was a surgeon as he has clearly indicated in his remarks, then I handed over the office of the Attorney-General to a fellow surgeon to continue with the treatment of the said patient. He took over the office and swore to diligently serve the people of Kenya in his capacity as the principal legal adviser to the government,” he said.

Last evening, Nyeri Senator Mutahi Kagwe, who was Information minister when the cases started in 2006, defended Prof Muigai.

Trying to hang Muigai is wrong

“Often, when something like this happens, the public is looking for someone to hang, and trying to hang Githu Muigai is wrong. When these contracts were signed, he probably did not know that he was going to become AG. His responsibility when he came in was to try and solve this one way or the other. To hang him on this one is dishonest.”

Mr Kagwe said leaders in the opposition when the Anglo Leasing scandal began should explain what transpired. He backed the decision to pay because “it is like being between a rock and hard place”.

The EACC also refused to take blame that it did not support the cases by providing evidence to prosecute and individuals involved.
EACC spokesman Yasin Amaro told the Nation the commission did its best to investigate, but the legal system became its own barrier.

“In fact in 2006, when we sought mutual assistance to get individuals behind these companies, some of those involved went to court and we were blocked from proceeding with it.”

Mr Amaro was categorical that EACC was collaborating with the Director of Public Prosecutions to reopen all the 18 Anglo Leasing investigations.

He said the commission cannot be blamed for the loss of cases. Since the Anglo Leasing scandal broke nearly a decade ago, only one person has been fully prosecuted and sentenced.

Former Home Affairs PS Sylvester Mwaliko, who signed a controversial Passport equipment contract, was in 2012 fined Sh3 million.

Kenya last week agreed to pay Sh1.4 billion as fine for breach of contract to First Mecantile Securities Corporation and Universal Satspace.