Anglo-Leasing scandal: CAS Chris Obure has case to answer, says court

The Anti-corruption Court has put Transport chief administrative secretary (CAS) Chris Obure on defence over the Sh1.3 billion Anglo-Leasing graft scandal, which happened when he was Finance Minister in former President Daniel Moi’s government.

The court found that Mr Obure, together with Sammy Kyungu (former Ministry of Transport Permanent Secretary) and Samwel Chamobo Bundotich (former Finance Secretary Ministry of Finance), have a case to answer in relation to the alleged economic crimes.

Their co-accused Francis Mellops Chahonyo (former Postmaster General Postal Corporation of Kenya) died during pendency of the trial.

Senior Principal Magistrate Anne Mwangi said the evidence tabled by the Prosecution sufficiently established that the accused persons have a case to answer, hence they need to defend themselves.

Hearing of the case commenced in October 2015 and a total of 27 witnesses including government officials, accountants in the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Transport testified in court.

The case relates to one of the Anglo Leasing scandals in which 18 high-value government security contracts were allegedly awarded to fictitious companies leading to loss of billion of shillings of public funds.

The prosecution told court that on July 11, 2002 the government of Kenya, on a single-sourcing basis, signed a contract agreement with a US-based company, Spacenet Corporation, worth $11,787,000 (approximately Sh1,301,284,800).

The contract was for supply of equipment and services to be acquired by the Postal Corporation of Kenya. The equipment was listed as VSAT hardware, computer servers, software licences and other communications services.

No due diligence

Among the prosecution witnesses was former Controller and Auditor-General Evan Mwai. In his evidence, it emerged that in most of the contracts, suppliers were not subjected to diligence tests. Thus, it was impossible to establish how their competence, capacity and capability to deliver the contracts was verified.

It is one of the cases that was reported to the then Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission by the Controller and Auditor-General in 2005, as a result of Special Audit conducted in 2004/2005 and 2005/2006 financial years. The special audit concerned the financing, procurement and implementation of security-related projects.

The Broad Band Network Project (also known as the Data Network and Rural Internet Services Project) was one such project procured by the Postal Corporation without following procurement procedures.

Investigations into the matter commenced in 2008 and the file was forwarded to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution who concurred with the Commission’s recommendations to prosecute.

Mr Obure, Mr Kyungu and Mr Bundotich were charged for the economic crime offences of abuse of office, conspiracy to defraud and breach of trust against the public among others. The offences were allegedly committed between March and July 2002.

The case will be mentioned on October 8 for the accused to start giving their defence. They are out on a cash bail of Sh1 million each.

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