Former Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura on Tuesday told an anti-corruption court that the Anglo Leasing contracts received the necessary State approval.
He said the green light was given by then-Attorney-General Amos Wako, among other officials.
Mr Muthaura told the court that he could not say the contracts were expensive because what was most important was whether an agreement had gone through all the processes, including approval by the AG, which had happened.
“I looked at the contracts and realised they had the approval of the permanent secretary and the AG, and had also gone through the other processes,” Mr Muthaura said on Tuesday.
Mr Wako is yet to testify in court.
Mr Muthaura said in 2004, President Mwai Kibaki had asked him to find out what was wrong with the contracts because there was a public outcry relating to them.
“There was a lot of information in the media that the Anglo Leasing type contracts were ghost agreements. We, therefore, wanted to establish whether they were really ghost,” said Mr Muthaura.
The contracts, signed in 2003, were meant to supply security equipment to be used by the police.
The Office of the President had asked the office of the AG to conduct an audit on the contracts. Mr Muthaura said the audit report became the official basis upon which the government could act.
Several senior State officials were suspended to pave the way for investigations. The suspension was later extended to include Cabinet ministers Kiraitu Murungi, Chris Murungaru and David Mwiraria.
“The suspension was to allow investigations. You could not be in office when you were being investigated,” said Mr Muthaura.
A London-based organisation also commissioned investigations but the government found its report to be “too wide” and could not be implemented because it was going to be expensive, “and would cost more than what we were planning to save as a government”.
Mr Muthaura was testifying in a case where Mr Mwiraria, three former government officials and businessmen Deepak Kamani and Rashmi Kamani were charged with conspiracy to defraud the government through the contracts.