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ELECTION 2022

Americans still on Amos Wako’s case

COUNTIES
By Betty Njeru | Nov 19th 2019 | 2 min read
Former AG Amos Wako testifies during an Anglo leasing hearing. [George Njunge/Standard]

For the second time, Americans have barred former Attorney General Amos Wako from setting foot on their soil.

On Monday, the US State Department re-banned Wako, his wife and their son from entry into the United States, due to his involvement in significant corruption.

"Section 7031(c) provides that, in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that officials of foreign governments have been involved in significant corruption, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the US," the statement read in part.

This, it said, sends a strong signal that the US is a valuable partner in Kenya's war against corruption.

It wasn't the first time. In 2009, Wako was banned from the US again after Washington accused him of being a stumbling block to political reforms.

Then US Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson said, "The US was revoking the Attorney-General's travel visa for blocking reform and contributing to impunity."

Wako’s ground was that: "This is a clear case of double standards where the bigger brother is demanding more from the smaller brother more than he, (the bigger brother) can deliver. Is this fair? Is this justice”.

In the 20 years he served as Kenya's Attorney General from 1991 to 2011, there had been numerous calls for his resignation.

During his tenure in former president Moi’s and former president Mwai Kibaki's government, he dealt with Goldenberg Scandal, a long-running corruption scandal that lasted his entire term as Attorney General.

Wako was accused in 2009 by British authorities (UK Serious Fraud Office) of refusing to provide evidence and sanctioning prosecutions.

In 2006, a parliamentary committee also accused him of approving the Anglo leasing security contracts without scrutinising their terms "in order to protect the government from possible abuse".

However, in 2018, Wako told a court that his office approved the Anglo Leasing contracts with conditions, which were later met by the National Treasury and the Interior ministry.

Wako left the office of the Attorney General in 2011 in accordance with the new constitution that required the AG to leave office one year after its promulgation.

The senator is yet to respond to the ban by Trump administration.

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