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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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4 comments:

marianne briner said...

I wish to give some clarifications regarding the Turkwel Gorge - the initial name of this project was Kiambere Dam and the international bidding for it had started during Kenyatta times. A consortium of German and British companies had won the tender - and also the Worldbank was willing to enter. But then Kenyatta died and the project was stopped.

Around 1983 I was then asked by Abraham Kiptanui (who by then was State House Comptroller and Private Secretary of Moi) to check via my connections especially with ABB (Asea-Brown-Boveri) if this project could be revived and to discuss the conditions. I got into contact with some Board Members and have then been able to present an offer which was even more favourable than the initial one - still being a Consortium by the same companies ..... the price would have been around 500 Million $ financed over a period of 20 years, 10 years grace period and zero interest. Also the Worldbank confirmed their willingness to enter in financing a housing scheme for the 'displaced' people.
Note: the amount mentioned covered also the distribution lines to give electricity to rural areas and not just Nairobi (.... remark: this part was scrapped later totally).

So I was very happy and made a report to Kiptanui - but in the meantime, Biwott had become Minister for Energy and considering his old hate for me (this woman should never be allowed to come back to Moi .... and Kenya), blocked everything.

His negative decision was then supported by the French Government who was interested to enter the Kenyan market with Jean-Christoph Mitterand (son of the then French Prime Minister) as the leading person ...... (by the way, he was later condemned to prison for some corruption deals he got involved in and is at the moment facing another court case for some shady deals in Angola).

So at the end, Biwott signed the contract with the French Group Spie. Battignol and Kiambere became Turkwel ......

And the price was not 500 Million but more than 2 Billion .........
although the distribution of electricity to the rural area was scrapped and also the housing scheme - the only housing scheme built was a de-luxe-residential complex for the French and Kenyan Managers.

When I gave evidence in Nairobi, I mentioned this amount and that maybe 2 or 3 generations of Kenyans will have to pay for this ...... at this point I was corrected by Dr. Obure Odinga who told me that the price of the Turkwel Dam was even much higher and it would take 4 - 6 generations to repay the debts since the whole project had been financed with bank loans and government guarantees and very high interest rates - and not as I had offered via grants and soft loans .........

I thought this was of importance although for sure I will again attract some nasty comments - but I can assure you, I can live with it ........

Marianne Briner

GreenLandsOfAfrica said...

Briner,

Do you have a blog where we can read your candid commments?

GreenLandsOfAfrica said...

Chris,

Isnt is very chilling how this old bunk called Moi has messed with the Kenyan citizens' life yet he still enjoys retirement benefits, which are colossal.

What are we paying him for? For squandering our taxpayers' money.

A return of this moneys,to me is the only best thing we can do.


How can we push for a return of this money?

Anonymous said...

chris,
Contact me at thomebits@yahoo.com.. I need assistance in unraveling the kroll report.

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