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Githongo: Former minister Chris Murungaru tried to stop Anglo Leasing probe

Former Governance and Ethics Permanent Secretary John Githongo at the Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi for a defamation case former Internal Security minister Chris Murungaru has filed against him. [PHOTO: GEORGE NJUNGE/STANDARD]

Former Cabinet minister Chris Murungaru tried to stop investigations into the Anglo-Leasing scandal.

John Githongo, who was once the Ethics and Governance permanent secretary, told a court yesterday Dr Murungaru send emissaries to prevail upon his to “go slow” on investigations into the scam.

Mr Githongo, who appeared before Justice Joseph Sergon in a defamation case the former Internal Security minister has filed against him for linking him to the scandal, said he also met Murungaru twice to discuss his alleged role in the matter.

“I wrote a dossier meant to clarify the Anglo-Leasing scam while still in exile because I had ceased being the PS,” said Githongo.

He told the court Murungaru was adversely mentioned by his Cabinet colleagues and that he had interests in Anglo-Leasing and related tenders.

He said Murungaru sent former Constitutional Affairs minister Kiraitu Murungi and former Finance minister David Mwiraria to warn him to go easy on the case because he wanted to kill him.

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Githongo said he was also informed Murungaru was frustrating investigations into the scandal.

“Mr Murungi and Mr Mwiraria stepped into my office without notice and told me Murungaru wanted to kill me on May 20, 2004,” said Githongo as he was cross-examined by Murungaru’s lawyer, Kioko Kilukumi.

He said Anglo-Leasing contracts were being investigated by different agencies. However, he was hard-pressed to explain how he concluded his report, handed to retired President Mwai Kibaki, that Murungaru and his associates had ‘resurrected’ contentious contracts carried over from the Kanu regime.

Githongo acknowledged the existence of the contracts but said their legitimacy was questionable.

He said he periodically updated Mr Kibaki of the progress of investigations. He also said it appeared nothing was being done despite a public outcry over corruption and underhand dealings.

Githongo said he could not call Mwiraria or Murungi, the current Meru senator, and former top civil servants as witnesses in the case.

“I did not get confirmation or denial that he had sent emissaries to me,” he said.

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Githongo said on February 22, 2004, he discussed with Mr Kibaki widespread corruption that had permeated his administration.

“I explained to the former head of state that Murungaru’s Cabinet colleagues were referring to him as muici (thief). He told me to get to the bottom of the matter.”

Githongo said a senior politician, whom he declined to identify for unspecified reasons, summoned him on May 24, 2004, and advised him to tread carefully because Murungaru and his associates were capable of eliminating him for implicating the former minister in corruption.

“The stability of the state was threatened and Murungaru was allegedly hell-bent on accumulating funds for political activities preceding the historic referendum on the Constitution,” he said.

Githongo’s testimony continues today.

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