Monday, 13 May 2013

Mass action threat over bid to pay Pattni

PHOTO | FILE Businessman Kamlesh Pattni during a visit to Nation Centre in Nairobi over the controversial ownership of duty free shops at JKIA in November 2012.
PHOTO | FILE Businessman Kamlesh Pattni during a visit to Nation Centre in Nairobi over the controversial ownership of duty free shops at JKIA in November 2012.  NATION MEDIA GROUP
Posted  Sunday, May 12  2013 at  23:30

Outrage and threats of mass action greeted revelations that Goldenberg architect Kamlesh Pattni could be paid even more billions by the taxpayer. This time the payment is in relation to a dispute over a company whose contract to run duty-free shops in Kenya was declared invalid by an international tribunal because it was awarded through corruption and bribery.
National Civil Society Congress president Morris Odhiambo said his organisation would consider going into the streets to block Mr Pattni from getting more public money.
Mr Odhiambo said since justice appears to have been blocked in the court, a return to the streets to protest against impunity was one option.
He said NGOs would meet to plan their next course of action after a company associated with Mr Pattni was awarded the money in arbitration.
“There appears avenues are being blocked in terms of access to justice and we are losing interest in the Judiciary. We will be meeting to chart what course of action to take and mass action will be part of what we may have to consider,” he said.
Mars Group chairman Mwalimu Mati said Mr Pattni was a “fraudster and forger” and called on Kenyans not to entertain his machinations to cover-up Goldenberg — one of the country’s worst financial scandals that almost brought the economy to its knees.
It was not immediately possible to get a response from the government whether the money would be paid to Mr Pattni. Finance permanent secretary Joseph Kinyua could not be reached for comment.
Retired Ghanaian judge Edward Torgbor ordered the Kenya Airports Authority to pay the Kenya Duty Free (KDF) complex associated with Mr Pattni the amount as part of a long running battle with the parastatal.
In the early 1990s, Mr Pattni, in a complex scheme, caused the loss of Sh5.8 billion which was paid to his companies as compensation for fictitious gold and diamond exports.
Goldenberg was an outrageous scandal but Mr Pattni has for nearly two decades bent the Judiciary to his will and has never been successfully prosecuted, despite recommendation to do so by no less than a full judicial commission of inquiry chaired by a Court of Appeal judge.
Mr Pattni has created a complex web of litigation, including cases that have been filed against him and some that he himself has brought.
Only recently, Mr Justice Joseph Mutava shocked the country by prematurely terminating all cases facing the Goldenberg architect.
The Judicial Service Commission has ruled that it could find no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Justice Mutava.
The Director of Public Prosecutions has filed a notice of appeal and written to the Deputy Registrar of the High Court for a record of the proceedings.
By press time, the High Court had not provided the documents and the intended appeal might die a natural death like all other cases against Mr Pattni.
Should the Sh4.2 billion award be upheld by the High Court, it would translate to yet another in a series of court victories by Mr Pattni.
Mr Mati said Mr Pattni was not interested in the compensation, but in covering his tracks so that when criminal proceedings on the mega scandals emerge, he would be able to destroy the evidence.
Mr Pattni milked billions from the taxpayers through fictitious exports of gold and diamonds, with the World Duty Free Company acting as a conduit.

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