The embattled former Swiss ambassador to Kenya, Jacques Pitteloud, has claimed that top State officials knew about an alleged Sh5 billion settlement with one of the chief suspects of the Anglo Leasing scandal, businessman Deepak Kamani.
Mr Pitteloud is facing a police investigation in Switzerland over accusations that he solicited a Sh5 billion bribe from Mr Kamani to help him avoid corruption investigations linked to Swiss companies including banks.
But the diplomat has maintained that the cash was intended to be an official plea-bargain settlement with the controversial businessman.
Mr Pitteloud, who currently holds a senior position at the Swiss Foreign Affairs Ministry, said in an interview with the Business Daily that senior officials in the Attorney-General’s office and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) “knew everything” about the proposed Sh5 billion deal.
He claims the deal was agreed by the two states and presented to the controversial billionaire businessman as a proposed settlement for Anglo Leasing proceeds he illegally gained in lieu of his prosecution.
“Everybody in both legal systems, Kenya and Switzerland, were aware that we were aiming for a deal with the Kamanis and we offered them a deal which they didn’t take. The offer was made on instruction from both legal authorities of Kenya and Switzerland,” Mr Pitteloud told the Business Daily in the interview from Switzerland.
Mr Kamani who is currently facing corruption charges in Kenya is accused of having been involved with others in a scheme to defraud the government of tens of billions of shillings through flawed security equipment supply contracts, commonly referred to as the Anglo Leasing scandal.
“EACC and the Attorney-General knew exactly what we were doing. They knew about the offer for a deal. If you are entering the phase of a very difficult court case and you know it will be a very long thing and it will cost a lot of money not only for the accused but also to the states that are prosecuting it’s fairly usual to go tell them reimburse the money you have stolen we forget the case and then justice will be done,” Mr Pitteloud said.
Mumo Matemu was the head of the EACC and Githu Muigai the AG when the deal was supposedly struck.
The top Swiss diplomat broke his silence days after the Swiss government ordered investigations on him to unravel the alleged bribery scheme during his five-year stint in Kenya.
Mr Kamani has claimed in papers filed in Kenyan and Swiss courts that Mr Pitteloud tried to extort money from him at his Nairobi Kyuna residence in May last year.
In his suit papers, the tycoon attached copies of text messages between him and Mr Pitteloud and alleged that the Swiss ambassador threatened to initiate money laundering investigations against him if he did not pay up the billions of shillings he was asking for.
On Monday, the Switzerland Attorney-General’s office confirmed to the Business Daily that it had instructed the country’s police to investigate the former Swiss ambassador to Kenya on claims that he solicited a bribe from the Kenyan businessman.
“The Office of the Attorney-General of Switzerland (OAG) has taken note of the decision made by the Appeals Chamber of the (Swiss) Federal Criminal Court on 29 June 2016 in relation to the no-proceedings order issued by the OAG on 7 March 2016,” said the Swiss AG in a statement.
Credit: Business Daily