Anglo Leasing contracts received the necessary State and Cabinet approvals, former Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura has told the anti-corruption court in Nairobi.
Mr Muthaura Tuesday said the Finance minister was lawfully empowered to exempt security contracts from procurement regulations, given their sensitivity.
“Matters security are not always in the public domain and I didn’t know about the contract details until audit queries were raised,” he said.
Mr Muthaura was testifying in a case in which former senior government officials and businessmen face charges related to the multi-billion-shilling security tenders the government has termed irregular.
The former public service boss said the contracts, which had the backing of the Attorney-General, were stopped after former graft czar John Githongo advised that some of them were ghost projects.
Mr Githongo, who was the anti-corruption chief in former President Mwai Kibaki’s office, said some of the firms the government had entered into contract with were “dubious”.
Mr Muthaura, however, said Mr Githongo’s claim was not conclusive and required more investigations leading to an in-depth audit by consultancy firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). He told the court the PwC brief was to establish whether the contracts were overpriced and not whether goods had been delivered.
Mr Muthaura said some of the contracted firms had met part of their obligations under the supply contract when investigations started.
The project of one of the Anglo Leasing firms, Infotalent Ltd, had not started and monies paid to the company in advance was returned to the Treasury, the court was told.
“A recommendation was made that further investigations were necessary hence the involvement of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission,” said Mr Muthaura.
Several senior State officials were suspended to pave the way for investigations.
Attorney-General Githu Muigai and Senior Deputy Solicitor-General Muthoni Kimani are expected to testify when the hearing resumes today.