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Corruption scandal Switzerland and Kenya discuss Anglo Leasing scam

Anti-corruption activists took to the streets earlier this month in central Nairobi

(Keystone)

Swiss investigators have met their Kenyan counterparts in Nairobi to discuss legal cooperation surrounding an investigation into the multi-million-dollar Anglo Leasing corruption scandal. 

In March 2015, a Kenyan court charged 12 businessmen and officials for fraud and abuse of office over the scandal that involved highly inflated contracts allegedly being awarded to phantom companies, charge sheets said. The accused, including an ex-finance minister, all denied charges of abuse of office and conspiracy to commit economic crimes and were freed on bail. 

Anglo Leasing Finance was paid about €30 million (CHF32.5 million) to supply the Kenyan government with a system to print new high-technology passports; other fictitious companies involved in the scam were given money to supply naval ships and forensic laboratories. None of the contracts was honoured.

Kenya’s attorney general has been working with the Swiss authorities to find and freeze the accounts of some of those believed to have been involved in the affair.

Switzerland opened a criminal investigation in 2009 on suspicion of money laundering against individuals implicated in the conclusion of various contracts worth tens of millions of dollars that apparently were tainted with irregularities. In this context, there are allegations that money may have been deposited in Swiss accounts or may have transited through Switzerland. 

Legal assistance requests

Representatives from Switzerland’s Office of the Attorney General said their visit to the Kenyan capital on Monday and Tuesday had provided an opportunity for the Kenyan authorities to pass on evidence they had gathered in response to pending Swiss requests for mutual legal assistance. Officials reviewed the Anglo Leasing case and discussed the procedures for collaboration between the two countries. 

In parallel with this Swiss criminal proceeding, between 2007 and 2012 the Attorney General’s Office carried out several mutual legal assistance requests from the Kenyan authorities, providing Kenya with a substantial volume of evidence.

Switzerland sent a mutual legal assistance request to the Kenyan authorities in June 2014, following up with further complementary requests. The statement said Switzerland was satisfied with the level of cooperation from the Kenyan authorities, which have responded quickly to these requests.

swissinfo.ch with agencies

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