Wednesday, August 20, 2008



August 19 2008 at 22:41
Daily Nation

Githongo said he will be in the country for the next two weeks but declined a comprehensive interview.

Officially, he will be attending a Kenya Human Rights Commission conference on Wednesday, but it remains unclear whether his stay will be permanent.
He has confirmed that he will not be relinquishing his position as a senior official with the British-based charity World Vision.

As former Permanent Secretary John Githongo arrived in the country on Tuesday night, there were probably equal amounts of excitement and trepidation about his home-coming.

Dressed in a brown leather jacked and exuding confidence and happiness at being in the country he fled three years ago, he said: “I am happy to be back. This is my country.”

He was received and hugged by his mother, friends and relatives and driven away in a private car with white security personnel.

Mr Githongo said he will be in the country for the next two weeks but declined a comprehensive interview.

To some, Mr Githongo is a hero who defied pressure and his own ethnic affiliations to expose grand corruption at the heart of the Narc administration.

But there are also those who view him as a traitor, both to his nation and to his own ethnic group, not just for uncovering the Anglo Leasing scandal, but also for what seemed to be extremely close links with the then British high commissioner to Kenya, Mr Edward Clay, who never minced words in his criticism of corrupt public officials.

Mr Githongo went into self-exile three years ago after announcing while on an official trip to London, that he would not be returning home. At the time, he had accompanied other high-ranking Government officials to the UK.

Mr Githongo’s most dramatic action was the BBC interview early in 2006 during which he aired tapes he had recorded during his discussions with the then Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Kiraitu Murungi.

In the tape, Mr Murungi was heard advising Mr Githongo, who was the then advisor on corruption in President Kibaki’s office to “go slow” on the Anglo Leasing investigations.

New twist

The Githongo tape added a new twist to the Anglo Leasing saga and raised questions over whether there were more details that Mr Githongo was yet to reveal.

The tape led to the resignation of Mr Murungi and the then Finance minister David Mwiraria.

However, both were returned to the Cabinet in the run-up to the 2007 General Election after being cleared of involvement in the Anglo Leasing scandal.

Mr Mwiraria went on to lose his parliamentary seat last December after it was reported that he was in a list of top officials who would be denied UK visas over irregularities.

Mr Murungi was re-elected as the Imenti South MP and is now minister for Energy.

Another casualty of Mr Githongo’s crusade was Dr Chris Murungaru, the then powerful minister of State for International Security.

He, too resigned after he was adversely mention over the Anglo Leasing scandal in which the Government paid billions of shillings for a naval ship and for a forensic laboratory that was to have been built at the CID headquarters. Questions were raised over the suitability and pricing of the ship.

It also emerged that a shadowy company, Anglo Leasing and Finance, had been paid millions of shillings for work that had not been done. Some of the contracts dated back to the Moi administration.