Court orders arrest of David Mwiraria over Anglo-Leasing scam


former Finance Minister David Mwiraria
former Finance Minister David Mwiraria

An Anti-Corruption Court sitting in Nairobi has issued a warrant of arrest against former Finance Minister David Mwiraria after he failed to turn up to take plea over the Anglo-Leasing scandal.

This was the second time Mwiraria failed to appear in court. The first time was set to appear before the court in March but was excused after he complained of poor health.

However, through his lawyer Abbas Esmail, Mwiraria told the court on Monday that he was unable to present himself in court as he had been admitted to the hospital over the weekend.

The prosecution, however, asked the court to issue a warrant of arrest against him saying that the former Cabinet Minister was not honest with the court.

Mwiraria, who has been ailing for some time, was found fit to plead to the charges in September by a state doctor, something that led to the Anti-Corruption Court summoning him.

Mwiraria is charged alongside Kisii Senator Chris Obure, who took his plea in March this year.

Senator Obure, former Transport and Communication Permanent Secretary Sammy Kyungu, former Postmaster General Francis Chahonyo and former Finance secretary Samuel Bundotich have been charged with irregularly authorizing Anglo-Leasing payments.

This comes after the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Keriako Tobiko called for the arrest of 13 people behind the Anglo Leasing scam in March this year.

Mwiraria and Obure are alleged to have used their powers while in office to sanction contracts and subsequent payments, some at inflated costs, to ghost firms or to companies which never delivered the services they were paid for.

Tobiko said he had given consent for the arrest and prosecution of the 13 over the scandal that saw Kenya lose billions of shillings in an illegal allocation of tender for the acquisition of passport equipment systems and forensic science laboratory for the police in 1997.

A French firm had put the cost of acquisition of the equipment at 6 million Euros, before the tender was awarded to a British firm Anglo Leasing Finance at 30 million Euros.

The charges were a culmination of over 10 years of investigations since the Anglo Leasing scandal came to public light.

 

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Story By Wangui Ngechu
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