By Alex Ndegwa

An investigation into the controversial purchase of embassy property in Tokyo, Japan, in which taxpayers could have lost Sh1 billion has stalled, a parliamentary committee heard.

KACC Director PLO Lumumba said, the anti-graft agency has completed local investigations but is yet to secure the cooperation of the Japanese to facilitate Kacc detectives conduct a probe in Tokyo.

Lumumba said Kacc made the latest contact a week ago but Tokyo responded they needed one more month to allow Kacc to visit Japanese territory. He added authorities have also insisted that interrogations by Kacc detectives must be conducted in Japanese.

“We completed the local component of the Tokyo affair a long time ago but our investigations would be incomplete without the Japanese bit,” Lumumba said.

Public uproar

He made the remarks before the Budget committee during the scrutiny of Kacc’s budget at County Hall yesterday. The public uproar following the Tokyo saga prompted the resignations of Sirisia MP Moses Wetangula as Foreign Affairs Minister and Mr Thuita Mwangi as Permanent Secretary to pave way for investigations.

The Sh1.6 billion paid for the purchase in 2009 of the premises housing the embassy and ambassador’s residence in Tokyo was allegedly inflated. Lumumba had cited the incident as an example of difficulties in securing mutual legal assistance from foreign agencies, which has hamstrung Kacc from cracking some high profile graft cases.

He had explained Kacc was working closely with authorities in Japan, UK, US, and Jersey, which has pressed Kenya to extradite Nambale MP Chris Okemo and former Kenya Power and Lighting Company managing director Samuel Gichuru to face money laundering charges.  Lumumba announced Kacc had received fresh documents that give new impetus to investigations into the Anglo Leasing scandal.