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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Alnoor Kassam The Man Who Dared To Challenge Biwott

Biwott to Kassam after paying Kshs100 million in debt interest; "…don't do that again. If you do I will not be responsible for what happens to you."

Trade Bank which Alnoor Kassam acquired from Gad Zeevi an Israeli businessman (later deported by Biwott but now involved in business dealings with him again) had a huge loan in it's books taken out by Biwott and Gad Zeevi.

When the bank ran into problems Kassam felt that he should bring it to the attention of Biwott who summoned the Central Bank governor Eric Kotut and balmed it all on Zeevi saying that he had a habit of leaving debts all over the place. He asked Kotut to go easy on Trade Bank and also to help Kassam get the money owed through other means.

Tomorrow: Details of Kibaki's men mentioon in Kroll Report

Image from Alnoor Kassam's site. One of the few people to stand up to Biwott who have lived to tell the tale

The issue was resolved over a 3-year period during which tax payers funds were credited to the bank directly from the Central Bank in Kenya shillings in the following order annually; 80 million, 180 million and 280 million.

The relationship between Yaya center, TradeBank and Biwott is complex. But when Tradeank took over Yaya center, Biwott insisted that his loan of 150 million be written off. This caused a lot of liquidity problems at TradeBank.

There was bribery in the acquisition of Yaya center to enable Trade Bank get the loan to acquire it. According to the Kroll report, Prof George Saitoti asked for a Kshs 4 million bribe.

The report goes on to tell the story of Solomon Muthamia who ended up with Kshs 100 million to his name when he was only 28 years old. Muthamia was the forex dealer at TradeBank and was entrusted with laundering the Turkwel Gorge funds on bahlf of Moi and Biwott. Biwott;s funds were channeled to accounts in Germany and the UK and Muthamia opened his own accounts in the same banks and then proceeded to skim off small amounts of the monies into his own accounts. Muthamia then went on to make further huge profits by providing local Asians with foreign currency cheques for a handsome commission when there was a huge shortage of dollars in the country.

Muthamia is believed to have launched Euro Bank from the proceeds of his illegal activities at TradeBank.

Alnoor Kassam pressed ahead with the deal to purchase TradeBank even when he was informed that Gad Zeevi owed the bank a staggering 400 million. He was desperate for a bank license then after seeing the kind of huge profits he was already making with Diner's Finance. Even after bribing Saitoti with Kshs 2 million in return for a banking license, according to the Kroll Associates report, Kassam still felt he needed a bank and was confident that he would later sort out the huge Zeevi loan issue.

Two years later Biwott and Zeevi reneged on the agreement they had had with Kassam to pay interest on the loan. Kassam was furious and approached Biwott who was in his office with Zeevi at the time. Receivers sent by Kassam were already at HZ construction. There was an almost violent confrontation between Zeevi and Kassam that forced Biwott to ask Zeevi to leave the room.

Biwott quietly asked Kassam to withdraw the receivers or risk losing TradeBank. Kassam stromed out of the office and Biwott called him back. Kassam insisted that Zeevi pays 100 million for him to withdraw the receivers. The money was paid by Biwott issued a chilly warming; "…don't do that again. If you do I will not be responsible for what happens to you."


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