|Deputy Solicitor General Muthoni Kimani and Treasury PS Kamau Thugge when they appeared before the Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday. [Photo:File/Standard]
By GEOFFREY MOSOKU
Kenya: Anglo-Leasing architect Anura Pereira is not yet done with Kenya even after getting paid 1.4 billion shillings by Treasury.
A day after revealing that Treasury had paid Pereira’s agents the amount, Permanent Secretary Kamau,Thugge dropped another bombshell hitherto unknown to Kenyans, of a new demand by the Sri Lankan, this time totaling to 3.05 billion shillings.
Thugge said the Sh3.05 billion is Pereira’s free demand in the latest Anglo leasing deals for the services allegedly made to the National Security Intelligence Service, now the NIS.
This is in addition to the Sh1.4 billion paid to his two other Anglo Leasing companies: Universal Satspace and First Mercantile Securities Corporation in line with a judgement issued in a London Court.
Thugge shocked the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) when he revealed that fresh demands had been made against the Flagstaff NCTC project entered in 2004 at a cost of US$41,800,000 for the NSIS.
“Pereira has already filed another claim with Treasury seeking the Sh3.05 billion payment for Flagstaff project though there is uncertainty on how much was done,” said Thugge.
The PS told the Ababu Namwamba-led PAC that Pereira has already written to Treasury demanding the payment but failed to clarify when the new demand was made.
This prompted committee chairman Namwamba to order Thugge to furnish the team with letters to that effect. But the latest revelation drew the suspicion of the committee, which questioned the manner in which contracts associated with Pereira’s companies were being favoured.
“The demand is not less than Sh3.05 billion entered in 2004. The figure could be more because of the interest rates accrued and similar tactics that were employed to frustrate the supposed floating of the sovereign bond,” warned Namwamba.
Suna East MP Junet Mohamed also demanded explanations from Treasury on a pattern he said was worrying, in which firms associated with Pereira were being given preferential treatment.
“Doesn’t it look like it is a conspiracy to pay Pereira the claims? Already four of his recent claims under the Anglo Leasing deals have been paid. The one in the pipeline is not even captured in the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) report that conducted an evaluation of the other related security projects,” Mr Mohamed said.
The latest demands now add another complication to Kenya’s planned sovereign bond, which seeks over Sh130 billion to bridge the 2014/15 budgetary estimates deficit.
This means that Treasury may cave in to the new demands and pay the amount, a situation that will exert more pressure on the Jubilee government, which is already battling criticisms over the payments.
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Deputy Solicitor General Muthoni Kimani told MPs that the project was not among the ones that were evaluated by PWC based on the nature of its security status.
Thugge, however, indicated that Treasury would be ready to work with the House to find ways of having the project audited before payments were made because of the high levels of uncertainty over how much was done.
This emerged as the committee was also told that the Government is demanding over Sh3.83 billion from Anglo Leasing businessman Deepak Kamani as a refund over the partly completed contracts.
Treasury’s quest to recover the money is, however, shrouded in mystery after claims that the courts had quashed the demands after the businessman sued to counter the move.
But a Treasury official, a Mr Kairu, told the committee that it was part of the PWC audit report.
Ms Kimani said the figure that the Government was seeking as a refund was still valid because it had not been affected by the court’s verdict.
She though failed to produce evidence of any mutual agreement on the refund by the government to Kamani.
“The figure is valid and is based on the five projects that were partially performed. Already the letters of termination have been sent to him for compliance,” Muthoni said.
Namwamba faulted the manner in which the process to terminated.
“You do not just wake up one day and terminate; there must be a process. You may not be sufficiently advised on their levels of completion,” said Namwamba.