Thursday, September 06, 2007
Conflict Of Interest Minister Who Says Kroll Report Is Lies
Nicholas Biwott used to be the cabinet Minister whose docket was energy and today he controls over 17% of the private oil industry in Kenya, according to the Kroll Associates reports. This in itself is more than a text book example of what conflict of interest is all about, long before you have gotten round to proving the other corruption allegations.
The idea of joining the hitherto low profile Energy Ministry may have no doubt been inspired by the stupendous amounts of money made from the Turkwell Gorge which gave the money launderers placed with the responsibility of transferring the funds overseas, a nightmare.
But apart from energy Biwott owns colossal interests in tourism, air transport, mining, real estate, telecommunications, construction and agriculture.
It is apparent that one of the main informants for the Kroll report was Alnoor Kassam of Trade Bank and Diners Finance fame. An astute entrepreneur who made the big mistake of trying to use Kenyan politics to his advantage, Kassam barely got away with his life.
What happened to him after he left Kenya is worth noting here. He almost went over the edge contemplating suicide several times but finally turned over a new leaf and rebuild his life. He is currently running for mayor of Calgary.
See Kumekucha inteview with Kassam last year.
Back to the Kroll report. A section confirms what Kenyans were told at the Goldenberg commission by Kamlesh Pattni. That to see the president businessmen were asked to come with briefcases full of money which they then left behind at the end of the meeting.
The Kroll report says that this was considered as a fee to access the president.
Both Josiah Kiplagat and Joshua Kulei arranged between 7 and 8 meetings in which Kassam met Moi. As advised, he carried between 2 and 4 million in briefcases for each meeting which he left behind.
Kassam's often stormy business relationship with Biwott began with the Middle East Bank purchase saga. Kassam was at the time very seriously looking for a banking license. At the time Kassam was seeking to buy the bank he turned up at Prof George Saitoti's office and found Biwott already there with Akber Esmail. Esmail was then told to wait outside and Biwott asked him to abort his move for Middle East Bank so that he (and Esmail) could purchase it. Kassam agreed without resistance and shortly after that Esmail who was Biwott's nominee at the bank was appointed chairman.
Evidence suggests that most of Turkwell Gorge Hydro Electric project money (handled by Biwott and Moi) was laundered through this bank and on to foreign accounts. What made matters worse for the country was the fact that these were the days of foreign currency controls so meager foreign country resources at Central Bank were allocated to Moi and Biwott transferring huge sums of money abroad. Later Biwott transferred his operations to Trade Bank.
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