By John Gerezani
Something very interesting happened at a major multinational firm’s shareholders meeting a couple of years back.
On the floor was a question as to why the firm had paid a hefty legal bill to a certain law firm to argue its appeal at the appeal court compared to the fifth of that sum that it had paid a bigger law firm for the more complex preparation at the trial stage.
Knowing winks had been exchanged in the corridors of justice upon rumours that the payment was ten per cent paid of the award given to the plaintiff at the High Court and was a virtual guarantee of success in the appeal.
The clever retort from a director of the firm was that the firm was making a saving and the seemingly high legal fee was good investment.
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Fast-forward to the vibrant and kicking JMVB where senior judges were sent packing.
Hey, l thought that only Safaricom and KPLC have pre-paid tariffs bwana! That big companies have routinely used their chequebooks to sway rulings in their favour is known, but what is of grave concern is that there is paper trail in one of the matters involving Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) — a cheque was made out to the distributing agent!! Someone give me Tobiko’s number!!
That the Central Bank did pay bribes to pervert justice would make great and compelling news if proved true.
Though a public entity, the CBK has been known as a citadel of corruption open to manipulation by powerful vested interests and the ruling clique.
From the Goldenberg and Anglo-Leasing scams to the pyramid scheme proliferation; from the spurious sale of the Grand Regency Hotel to hard questions on the De La Rue factory; from claims of compromising MPs during a recent debate on the Governor to claims that it stood aside as banks manipulated the forex market thereby distorting the exchange rate and causing untold anguish to Kenyans, the CBK has displayed an un-usual propensity to break the law with impunity.
My bird informs me that the recent window was open to enable a well connected bank recoup losses emanating from deals gone sour on some real estate ventures it had heavily invested in.
Some of the major players in the banking sector should thank their gods that they practice in Kenya otherwise they could be serving long stretches in neti with the Maddoffs of this world.
A dude l know is not only adept at manipulating the forex platform having done the same in what led to the previous collapse of a bank, but is also famed for insider share trading whenever he wants to make a killing on the bourse. But that’s a story for another day.
My main duty is to sniff crime so as l await an immediate comprehensive statement on the cheque matter from CBK. Could the graft bodies move post haste and establish who authorised public funds to be used to bribe the Judiciary, which other bribes have been paid and how are they reflected in the books?
Does the CBK run a slush account for such criminal matters and who controls it? Remember it also took an upheaval in the CMC board for the public to know about the slush offshore accounts.
I have not endeavoured to condemn CBK unheard, but I am only cajoling them to give us the hard facts while cognizant of the fact that its image will be battered should the allegations be proved true.
Having said that and acknowledging the power of chwaa, I want to appeal to the CJ, DPP and AG to sit down and agree on the way forward for all cases known or perceived to have been unduly influenced and which form the basis for the removal of judicial officers.
There is a growing consensus that these matters be heard afresh as that is the price to pay for justice and to bring impunity to a screeching halt.
Finally, l suggest that if these well connected crooks cannot be rounded and locked up at K44 until they refund public money, then all netizens should be unconditionally freed...ama niaje?