Anglo Leasing scandal suspects Rashmi Kamani, Deepak Kamani (center) and Senior Counsel Ahmednassir Abdullahi leavingMilimani Law Courts on April 24, 2015.
BY SAM ALFANM.
A Nairobi Anti-Corruption Magistrate court has ordered the release of passports belonging to Anglo Leasing scandal suspects Deepak and Rashmi Kamani.
Anti-corruption senior magistrate Doreen Mulekyo on Friday morning ruled Rashmi Kamani and his brother Deepak are at liberty to continue with their normal lives until such a time that they are proven guilty.
Mulekyo overruled the prosecution’s objection to the release of the travelling documents on the grounds that they had not demonstrated in their submission that the two accused presented themselves for trial without a warrant of arrest being issued against them.
“The apprehension by the state while understandable is nonetheless in my view unwarranted bearing in mind that the accused were not arraigned pursuant to a warrant of arrest ….. Notwithstanding that one of the accused persons has always been domiciled outside the jurisdiction,” Mulekyo ruled.
She said it was highly unlikely that the suspects would go against societal norms and expectations and abandon their aged father with whom they have been jointly charged.
“The accused persons’ travel documents may be released to them temporarily, pending commencement of the trial on July 20 to enable them (to) attend their domestic and business concerns,” the magistrate said.
Director of Public Prosecutions, Keriako Tobiko, has strongly opposed the release of passports belonging Anglo Leasing scandal suspects Deepak and Rashmi Kamani.
The DPP argued during the hearing of the application that, there were no compelling reasons advanced by two billionaire brothers to justify the variation of the conditions imposed on them to secure their release pending the hearing and outcome of the criminal case against them.
The two men were required to post Sh3million cash bail and to deposit their passports and other requisite travel documents by the Chief Magistrate in charge of the anti-corruption court, Doreen Mulekyo on March 5.
Senior assistant director of public prosecution, Nicholas Mutuku, said the Ethics and Anti- Corruption Commission (EACC) is actively investigating other controversial Anglo-leasing type contracts, in which companies associated with the two suspects were allegedly involved in fraudulent dealings. Once enough evidence is gathered by the agency, the firms are likely to be charged soon, he said.
Rashmi has given indication that he wants to visit his ailing wife in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) while Depaak seeks to travel to India, Pakistan and China for business engagements.
The prosecution said there are no binding extradition treaties between Kenya and the designated countries the two men intend to visit. “Once they have left the jurisdiction of this court, there is no proper mechanism to ensure that the suspects will be available in the designated countries, making it difficult to access them in the event of imminent need,” Mutuku explained.
However, Senior Counsel Ahmednassir Abdullahi and lawyer Paul Nyamod protested there were no valid reasons advanced by the prosecution in opposing the applications, since the two suspects are Kenyans. They have been jointly charged with their ailing 84-year old father, Chamanlal Kamani.
The two lawyers said the suspects surrendered themselves to the court once the EACC charged them with the alleged offences and they were unlikely to unlikely to abscond. The countries they intended to visit were members of the United Nations, in which Kenya was an active member and signatory to its international treaties.
Earlier the two brothers had pleaded with anti-corruption court magistrate Peter Ndwiga to release the passports to facilitate “overseas travel during the Easter festivities”, but he declined.
Mr Ndwiga directed their lawyer, Paul Nyamodi, to make a formal application and allow Mr Tobiko to respond.
The Kamanis are among eight suspects, including former government officials, charged over the high-profile corruption case linked to international fraud companies.
The Kamanis have challenged their prosecution claiming that the case involved civil contractual agreements “that, in some instances, were part performed”.
They argue the criminal proceedings against them are an abuse of power by the Jubilee government for political reasons.
Last year they moved to court to stop the Kenyan government from releasing information to Swiss authorities in relation to the controversial Anglo Leasing contracts
The Kamanis wanted Attorney General Githu Muigai barred from acting on a request by the Swiss Federal Attorney for information about them relating to money laundering and dealings with companies implicated in the Anglo Leasing scandal.
They argued that the AG had publicly stated he would act on the request alleging that the three were involved in money laundering between 1999 and 2004 and could be extradited to Switzerland to face prosecution.
The Kamanis are linked to companies that were awarded 13 out of 18 Anglo Leasing security contracts.
The remaining five went to Sri Lankan businessman Anura Perera, who was recently paid Sh1.4 billion by the Jubilee government.