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US Envoy gave me 'dossier' on Charterhouse Bank, says Lumumba

By | October 29th 2010 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By Martin Mutua

Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission Director Patrick Lumumba said the US Ambassador, Michael Ranneberger, gave the ‘additional dossier’ he had referred to on the closed Charterhouse Bank.

Dr Lumumba, who appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Finance, denied he had called for the continued closure of the bank contrary to reports appearing in a section of the media (not The Standard).

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"It is not within our mandate whether the bank is reopened and Mr chairman my statement was clear and I am not responsible for the editorial lapses of some media houses," he added.

Lumumba noted that his organisation was now investigating the bank afresh, together with certain customers’ accounts in light of the additional evidence he had received from the envoy.

At one point, the committee headed by Nambale MP Chris Okemo and his deputy Philip Kaloki had to take a break for about 30 minutes to allow for the ‘dossier’ Lumumba had come with to be photocopied and circulated to members of the committee.

Several committee members later told The Standard the information PLO was referring to as additional, was the same one the committee had and that there was nothing new.

"The bundle he has given us is the letter by the American ambassador together with copies of the PricewaterhouseCoopers report, which we have and have interrogated all Government departments concerned who have disowned the same," added the MP who preferred not to be named.

What interest

And when the session resumed, members took the KACC boss to task demanding to know what interest the US and Britain had in the bank.

Okemo told Lumumba the Ranneberger letter had urged KACC not to reopen the bank, adding it seemed like he was acting under the direction of the US envoy.

"Mr Director what puzzles the committee is that Kenyans are not complaining about the banking services, but the British and United States governments are the ones complaining. What is this that is offending these foreigners about the bank? Can you tell Kenyans because you owe it to them to know what is this, which they don’t know," added Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo.

But Lumumba, who was accompanied by one of his deputies, John Mutonyi, said he had inherited a live case, which he was investigating, adding the issue of dealing with foreign governments was not within his mandate. "You should ask the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to follow procedures and summon the US ambassador in line with the Vienna Convention to answer to those questions," he added.

Lumumba further said his office was open to receiving complaints from anyone, including foreigners.

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