Retired President Mwai Kibaki knew about Anglo-Leasing theft, says John Githongo

Former Governance and Ethics PS John Githongo testifies in a Milimani Court. [PHOTO: GEORGE NJUNGE/Standard]

Retired President Mwai Kibaki was aware of all the issues surrounding the Anglo-Leasing scandal, former Governance and Ethics Permanent Secretary John Githongo has claimed.

Testifying before High Court judge Joseph Sergon, Mr Githongo said top National Rainbow Coalition officials feared the scandal would bring down the Kibaki administration. He said senior State officials wanted the issue softened for fear it would "bring down many in the system".

The court heard that when the heat became too much, David Mwiraria, the Finance minister at the time, and his Justice counterpart Kiraitu Murungi, met Githongo and advised him to slow down. Githongo said Mr Mwiraria informed him that money siphoned from the Government had started trickling back to Treasury. That was on June 11, 2004.

"CBK (Central Bank of Kenya) provided evidence that the money had been returned, not only in Anglo-Leasing. Over Sh1 billion had been returned - the money being from contracts that were under investigation by the EACC (Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission) and the Auditor General's office," he revealed.

Githongo claimed that in a separate meeting at Sheria House, Kiraitu wavered about former Cabinet minister Chris Murungaru being arrested over the scam. Githongo alleged that the Meru senator insinuated to him that he would opt to leave office before ordering the arrest of a fellow minister.

The court heard that Kiraitu told him that the operations "were harmful" to Kibaki's reign.

"By that time, EACC, who had filed and shared with me how investigations were proceeding, had listed the names they felt were involved, including the plaintiff," Githongo claimed. "They had also produced a list of those considered suspects who had defrauded the Government."

Githongo told the court on December 2, 2004, he met Stanley Murage, who was also a PS, and told him Murungaru had become a challenge in the fight against corruption.