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Archive for June, 2008

Do other Kenyans of 42 tribes have a right to be employed in the Finance Ministry and other Ministries headed by the Kikuyus/GEMA?

Posted by African Press International on June 30, 2008

People,

Birds of the same feather dont see anything wrong in the manner Amos Kimunya handled the sale of Public Utility – more or so, behind the Minister-in-Charge of Licensing. What makes it sinister is the way Grand Regency Saga was brought under investigating committee, then suddenly before the public are informed or the Minister for Land and Licensing is aware about the Documentation Transactions taking place, Kimunya has completed sale transactions and acquired Trading License to the Libyan buyer, manouvring through with junior staff ofOrengo’s Ministry. Doesnt this characteristic behavior look scandalous and funny? The Minister is the one responsible to answer questions in Parliament and is in theAdministrative Managementof public resources. How do they expect Orengo to defend the matter in Parliament and explain to the public if he is unaware of the circumstances to which Grand Regency changed hands?

Or is it because Orengo though a Minister, is ODM and a Luo, so he is not fit to know or be informed? Or isPublic properties for Kikuyus/GEMA’s to utilize or dispense at will, andevery other tribe in Kenya are subsidiary in the event of businessinvolving public utility and investments? Or dont Kenyans have the right to know why and how Kamlesh after corrupting Kenyan Resources and public utility (corruption of high order and robbing Kenyans fabric of survival – Kamlesh chargedin Criminal and Civil Cases), was awarded Amnesty in exchange of Grand Regency? Does the Kikuyus/GEMA have a blank check in the ownership of Kenya? Does The Finance Ministry belong to Kikuyu’s only or Kenya? Do other Kenyans of 42 tribes have a right to be employed in the Finance Ministry and other Ministries headed by the Kikuyus/GEMA for that matter? Are they too bold to tell Kenyans on their face they dont matter as long as they are not Kikuyu? Is this Robbery with Violence to unsuspecting majority poor Kenyans?

What an insult, annoying statement from Kimunya and Beth Mugo!!!!!!Is this a hoodwink, to let hot air pass, so they can continue with their missions as usual like everybody else complaining about Grand Regency is a fool,

and do not understand business? See Beth Mugo’s comments here under……. How dare she and Kimunya insist he Kimunya did a good thing to Kenyans. To steal public properties from Kenyans, exposing Kenya to a worse corruptible environment scenario- putting pushing the rest poor Kenyans of 99% on a dangerous poverty death bed is a good thing? What an insult!!!!! May the whole Kenyans and the world condemn this barbaric brutal blunt betrayal ofpublic service, trustand resource flight in the name of investmenting for Kenya?

I support Orengo in cancellation ofthe deal unless Kimunya explains himself sufficiently to Parliament and the public why he evaded the investigating team and went ahead stealthly to finalize the sale deal when he was ordered to stop and go before them.

People want to know. Beth Mugo needs to explain, if there is nothing fishy why did they transact Grand Regency in a stealthly conning sinister manner?

Thank you,

Judy Miriga

USA

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Grand Regency: Orengo threatens to cancel deal

Story by NJERI RUGENE and DAVID MUGONYI
Publication Date: 6/30/2008

Lands minister James Orengo Sunday said he was considering revoking the controversial sale of the Grand Regency Hotel.

Lands minister Mr Orengo. Photo/ FILE

For public interest to be protected, nothing short of revocation or cancellation would suffice unless those involved want to pay the full amount, he told the Nation.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga said he had called a Cabinet committee meeting for Tuesday to discuss the Grand Regency saga.

It is only after that meeting that I can say publicly how far the investigations have reached, he said in Kiambaa, Kiambu District, Sunday.

Addressing a gathering during a home coming party for Kiambaa MP Stanley Githunguri, Mr Odinga said all leaders were answerable to Kenyans and none was indispensable.

He promised full investigations into the saga.

Addressing the same function, Cabinet ministers Anyang Nyongo, and Dalmas Otieno called for full investigations, saying the law needed to be followed to the letter.

Kenyans have expressed outrage at the revelation that the five-star city hotel was recently sold secretly.

Cabinet minister Mutula Kilonzo said he was the lawyer in the Sh4 billion sale of the hotel to Goldenberg scandal chief architect Kamlesh Pattni in 1994.

But Mr Pattni last evening denied he bought the Grand Regency in 1994 at Sh4 billion. He said the hotel, whose contruction was incomplete at the time, plus four others cost less than Sh1 billion.

Mr Pattni said in an interview with NTV, that being granted amnesty for both criminal and civil cases was part of the deal to surrender the hotel to the Central Bank of Kenya and that his lawyer was still following the issue.

But Sunday Mr Kimunya defended himself saying he did the right thing in disposing of the hotel.

Even when you do a good thing people will always castigate you, he said at a function in his Kipiripiri constituency.

His Cabinet colleague Beth Mugo, speaking in Mwingi, supported the sale saying there was nothing fishy about the sale of the hotel.

Speaking during Vice President Kalonzo Musyokas homecoming party, the Public Health and Sanitation minister said the transaction was regular.

On Sunday, Mr Orengo said he was also considering placing a caveat and/or restriction on any transfer of the hotel and the land it stands on so that its buyers dont transfer it.

I have not seen the documents but will be calling for them. I will study them carefully, and get proper advice because anything based on fraud is null and void and should be declared such, he added.

The Grand Regency saga has split the Cabinet, with ministers Martha Karua, Mutula Kilonzo, William Ruto, Mohamed Kuti, Charity Ngilu and Sally Kosgei calling for thorough investigations into the transaction.

In Mombasa, seven MPs agitating for formation of an opposition said they would lead Kenyans in mass action from this week, to force Mr Kimunyas resignation and others involved in the saga.

Led by Mr Gitobu Imanyara of Imenti Central, the MPs also asked the Libyan government to surrender the title deed for the hotel until its sale, which they said was shrouded in mystery, was streamlined.

Mr Imanyara also announced he would sponsor a motion in Parliament to censure Mr Kimunya.

As Mr Orengo spoke, the Nation learnt of behind-the-scenes manoeuvres and intimidation of senior ministry of Lands officials to sign transfer documents.

An influential Cabinet minister, a senior Permanent Secretary, a Central Bank of Kenya official and a senior security adviser coerced ministry of Lands officials to transfer the hotel without involving the minister.

Sources familiar with the transactions said two senior lands officials received several telephone calls from the four powerful government officials directing them to ensure a speedy transfer of the documents to the new owners.

Insiders said in their conversation, the four invoked the name of a powerful individual in Government. Eventually on Wednesday, one of them walked into the Lands office and camped there until the civil servants signed the transfer.

The four were not hiding anything and threatened the lands officials with demotions and transfers, our sources said.

On Sunday Mr Orengo said: There are certain powers in law which are vested in the Registrar and Commissioner of Lands and can be exercised in one way or another, the minister said in the interview.

Saying he was ready to put his job on the line over the controversial sale, Mr Orengo talked of powerful individuals behind the deal, adding he would expose them once he got the full details.

He described the transaction surrounding the sale of Grand Regency as fraudulent from the beginning.

I am prepared for anything even if it takes my sacking or resignation. Extraordinary measures must be taken to deal with problems at the Lands office, he said.

The minister also doubted that the hotel was actually sold for the Sh2.9 billion, saying its value was higher and taxpayers were bound to lose at least Sh7 billion.

The ministry, he announced, would send valuers to determine the hotels real value so that the Government could be paid adequately.

According to Mr Orengo, the Grand Regency deal involved a more powerful cartel than Kenyans knew.

I believe the Finance minister could not have acted alone. More people were involved in the negotiations, drew the agreement determining how much, how and where to be paid.

The Lands minister also said he believed the deal with the Libyans must have been sealed earlier and the buyers have now moved in to take their property.

He said he would seek audience with the President to discuss the irregular transfer.

Mr Orengo said he learnt of the sale through a junior employee after all the transactions and transfers were complete. He also said the plot next to the hotel had been sold secretly for Sh1 billion and was being guarded by the police.

Mr Kimunya has been on the spot since the story broke out. Initially, he denied that there were plans to sell the hotel, saying it would only be done through competitive bidding.

However, on Friday, he backtracked on his earlier denials when Mr Orengo revealed that the hotel had been sold.

Mr Kimunya described the deal as having been too sweet to be resisted. He commended Mr Orengo for blowing the whistle but the Lands minister Sunday dismissed the praise as a mockery.

On Sunday, Kenyans were grappling with questions on why the property was undervalued and who the beneficiaries of the transactions were.

Additional reporting by Caroline Wafula, Mazera Ndurya and Patrick Muthuri

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API

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We denounce the devil in totality

Posted by African Press International on June 30, 2008

Commentary:

Folks,

This will not succeed in the name of Jesus. We denounce the devil in totality. We will keep our midnight oil burning. Shetani ashindwe

katika jina la Yesu!!!! Mimi sita rudicannan.

Can everyone who loves Kenya begin to contact and call their Parliamentariansand share in the forum inresponsetheir comments. If any

Parliamentarian refuses to respond put their names in this Forum. Even

the constitutents that voted for Martha Karua and Kibaki, I believe there

are some normal sane beings there, let them speak out – this is a serious

matter.

May we have their emails for circulations for those who cannot access it.

For this reason, their allowances should not be taxed. They will have to work overtime people. We have to start thinking and come up with

ideas for job creations to supplement overdues for MPs allowances, because they have to work people.

Thank you Mudavadi for speaking out. More will come out. Good move.

Kudos

By Judy Miriga, USA

Musalia speaks of plot to derail law reforms

Story by BENSON AMADALA – Nation Newspaper
Publication Date: 6/30/2008

Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi says there is a plot by top officials in the Grand Coalition Cabinet to derail the constitutional reforms process.

He warned that unless the search for a new constitution was given priority, the countrys leaders would pay for their laxity.

Speaking in his Sabatia constituency, Mr Mudavadi said some of his colleagues were involved in schemes to manipulate the process for short-term political gains.

Kenyans want nothing short of a new constitution. However, there are some in Government who are beginning to take the grand coalition as an end in itself, he said.

Mr Mudavadi said it was time to address the causes of post-election violence to give the healing process a chance.

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API

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ODM is telling people to keep cool and be exploited

Posted by African Press International on June 30, 2008

To Sam Okello from Paul Nyandoto,

That is a brilliant note you have placed forward.

Iam just afraid to tell people these words. I do see both PNU and ODM as failures in our eyes and ears. The PNU guys also signed all the agreement but it does not look as if they do care. On the other hand the ODM may cause a lot of blood bleeding in the 2011 or 2012, since they are the ones trying to tell people that all is good, coalition will work upto 2012 bla, bla etc.

Nothing has changed in this called present coalition governmnet if you compare it with how Kibaki used to do business in the 2003- 2007. Corruption is as usual, nobody is send to prison for it, Kibaki decides who gets what and which jobs etc. People are loyal and are not demonstrating any more. Infact ODM has layed them the foundation of peace and stealing. So the ODM is on the otherside telling people to keep cool and be exploited while PNU is just exploiting. It is like telling one side of two fighting armies (A & B), that army A to hold their weapons and army B are left free to fire the guns. You might be suprised that in 2012 more people will be killed by police or army bullets than the ones they killed after 2007 elections. And i am afraid that the majority of deaths might be in the ODM strong holds since the ODM holds nothing except same names as ministries.

Look at how the Hotel was sold to the Libyians, even without the Knowledge of the minister concerned. Can you tell me how many weapons have they bought now which ODM does not know even where they are kept?. May be the money got from the Hotel (extra money) they sold to Libya was payed partly by weapons, or some trainning of PNU militia in Libya, who knows? only God knows, i do think even the prime minister does not know. According to me my simple deduction is this: ODM is an opposition in the government who does not know that it is an opposition believe me or NOT?. This is a big denial which will come out as a true myth just in the next general election 2012, when people will be going to an election again without the new constitution.

I do wonder when sometimes i do hear Kenyan prime minister or foreign minister critisising Zimbabwe. In Kenya we do not have a proper constitution, we still have ECK chairman who caused a lot of deaths and instead of correcting things at home they have the time to speak about Zimbabwe: does these people know that Charity starts at home ?,: You first make your home right before you try to make your friends, or you pick the dirt from your eye first before you can pick the dirt on the other person`s eye. A blind man never leads another blind man. Both Kenya and Zimbawe does not have good leadership. The prime minister and the foreign minister of Kenya are not even international diplomates to handle Mugabe`s case?.

Paul Nyandoto.

>>> <samokello@sahelpublishing.net> 06/30/08 7:58 >>>

Is this a coalition government or are these two separate governments?

It’s now six months since the events of December 2007 made necessary the formation of a coalition government. In that time, a lot has happened that makes it necessary for us to wonder whether Kenya’s is truly a coalition government or two separate and unequal governments.

Here are the pertinent issues.

1. After the elections, it was my understanding, and that of most Kenyans, that one of the most critical issues that faced the nation was the restructuring of the Electoral Commission of Kenya. There was a man called Samuel Kivuitu who had disgraced himself so irreparably that the only redemptive way out for him was to resign, then be charged with aiding and abetting fraudulence in an election. As things stand, this matter seems to have effectively been shelved by the Kibaki side of the government. What I have to wonder is…by agreeing to participate in the by-elections recently held, was the ODM side saying Kivuitu is just fine? Is reforming this discredited body still a priority, or must Kenyans wait till we are close to another election before our perpetually shortsighted politicians sense that this matter could lead to another meltdown?

2. The matter of the constitution was supposed to be a top priority. Indeed, it was the understanding of Kenyans that the government was going to move with speed to address the many issues our constitution fell short on. Land Policy. Distribution of resources. Gender equality. Religious freedom. Six months later, what we’ve witnessed is the PNU side, led by Amos Kimunya, reading a budget that failed to allocate any funds for this critical exercise. The question again is…what’s the ODM storyline here? Are we waiting for 2011 to start scrambling? It will be the biggest failure of leadership if the PNU side hoodwinks us and successfully sends Kenya to another election under the unrepresentative constitution.

3. The IDPs were supposed to have been settled by now. What in the world are our brothers and sisters still doing in the cold and the unforgiving rains of the season? Where is the money that was allocated for the exercise of settling these folks, and why can’t the exercise be commenced and done with the competence and compassion it deserves? Six months later? Shame on all of us! But again, where is the ODM on this matter? Are we waiting for 2011, when we are looking for the votes of these suffering mothers and fathers? Where is action, folks?

4. The final urgent matter is the amnesty issue. On this, we know that the Kibaki side of the government wants to prosecute what they call criminals. The Odinga side wants to forgive and foster reconciliation. These are two visions that have a bearing on the future of our nation. Like I’ve always warned, the Kibaki team is hell-bent on scapegoating the small man for the election debacle. To the PNU, everything would have been just fine if Kibaki’s theft of the election had gone unchallenged and the Mungiki was given a free reign. Well, to ODM’s credit, this is a matter that has been pursued with gusto. But that’s not enough. At some point it must be made clear that there is a time limit to the call for amnesty. The ODM must let Kenyans know what steps will be taken if the other side of the government insists on punishing the small man and letting the real criminals go free.

Those are the big four. Indeed, it would be enough if from here on out, the two governments concentrated on resolving those four issues only. Those issues are enough to occupy us till 2012. If we don’t get them right, God forbid that we should face another election so soon!

That said, here are the other arising matters.

a. The Cabinet

It’s now clear that while folks in the PNU side are engaged in corruption on a grand scale, like the harrowing sale of the nation’s landmark hotel, the folks in the ODM side are asking questions and working to stop the blatant looting going on. Does the fact that the Hon James Orengo was out of the loop on a matter of this magnitude inspire your confidence as a Kenyan? Hhmm. And you still call this a coalition?

b. Permanent Secretaries

Once upon a time we were told that this was supposed to be a 50-50 government. But when the two principals got behind closed doors and presented their list of PSs to the nation, what we saw was anything but a 50-50 split. We also saw a bunch of oldies. I understand and applaud the pragmatism that led the Prime Minister to swallow this bitter pill, but this matter aptly demonstrates the fact that what we have is two governments.

c. Diplomatic Assignments

It seems to me like once again the folks who were in these positions were merely affirmed. Where are the 50% that represent the ODM in the world’s capitals?

d. Corporate Appointments

Again, point a finger at the 50% that represent the ODM.

As usual, I expect to be called an inciter and all manner of names for slapping the facts on the table. But if we don’t deal with these matters on an honest basis, we’ll only be fooling ourselves. Facts have a way of coming back to kick the butt of those who ignore them. So based on what has transpired in the six months, fellow Kenyans, what I see is two separate governments, one more powerful and more corrupt, the other less powerful but more patriotic.

For the sake of Kenya, I pray that the patriots will have an upper hand.

For Love of Country,

Sam O. Okello

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African Press International – api

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The real fight for Grand Regency

Posted by African Press International on June 30, 2008

Posted to API by Judy Miriga,

Written by Albert Muriuki and Morris Aron

April 23, 2008: On Nairobi’s Loita Street, the Libyan flag flies high atop the five-storey Embassy building, perhaps a sign of the country’s passion to get a foothold in Kenya’s oil and business sector. The stakes are high.

Across the street is the Grand Regency Hotel, a landmark institution that symbolises greed, theft and corruption the hallmark of the Kanu regime.

The Libyans want the hotel as part of their bid to entrench themselves into Kenya’s business sector and so do the Indians.
Diplomatically, the Libyans have an upper hand or so they believe.

Last month, when the country was in the thick of a political stalemate, President Kibaki flew to Kampala meet Libya’s President Muammar Gaddafi who was commissioning a new mosque.

In diplomacy circles, that was a signal that the Libyans have got to the heart of Kenya’s presidency.

Libyan oil merchants are in town looking for contracts and seeking to elbow out other investors in a pull-and-push game that has seen Indians who were after the lucrative oil refinery in Mombasa cry foul.

Eight years after they re-opened an embassy in Nairobi which was shut in 1987 after the Moi regime accused the embassy officials of espionage the Libyan oil merchants want to have a footprint in the region and are keen to edge out competitors.

Like the emerging story of the Grand Regency Hotel, the entry of Libyans and the fight for lucrative tenders and business space is opening new battle grounds.

Indian, Chinese and Libyan companies are taking advantage of a political stand-off between the Kibaki regime and British companies which were previously the main beneficiaries of such high level transactions.

At the Grand Regency, a group comprising Libyan investors trading as Libyan Arab African Investment Company is pitted against another one of Indians who recently bought a vacant plot next to the hotel.

The Indian group boasts of the fifth richest man in the world, Mr Mukesh Ambani, who early last month partnered with an Arabian real estate firm, Arrow Webtex, to form Delta Resources Limited and bought a number of plots close to the hotel.

One of the deals included the purchase of a parking lot next to Grand Regency at a cost of Sh1.4 billion from the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) in the country’s biggest property deal so far this year.

Arrow Webtex has also reportedly bought another parking lot between Barclays Plaza and Nyati House, where it plans to build a number of top-end hotel and shopping malls, creating a “city within a city” around the hotel complete with modern shopping centres, casinos and other entertainment services.
The investors also recently bought into Gapco oil and have other interests in the country.

Once a virgin green zone, the land between Uhuru Highway and Loita Street has been the bastion of speculators who got the land in the mid years of the Moi Government and it is there that the Indians and the Libyans will start their fights.

And a cabal of local interests have joined the fray, questioning the authenticity of documents regarding the hotel sale.

A document supposedly written by businessman Kamlesh Pattni’s lawyers but which do not have his signature, states that one of the pre-conditions for the hand-over of the hotel to CBK is the sale of the property to a pre-determined investor.

President Kibaki on a recent trip to Libya.

According to the document, the hotel was to be sold jointly by the Central Bank and Mr Pattni to a buyer free of any encumbrances at market value and determined by two reputable valuers.

Wetangula, Adan, Makhoha and Company, Mr Pattni’s advocates, through Mr Ahmed Adan told the Business Daily that the reports were fraudulent and that the advocate firm had not issued such a document.

“I can confirm to you that we have not written any such a declaration,” said Mr Adan.

The law firm accused politicians who are against the repossession of the hotel and “people who are interested in the deal,” as being behind the document.

“The people behind this are shameless corrupt people with up to 20 cases in court,” said Mr Adan as he showed the Business Daily what he said was the declaration signed by Mr Pattni before the handover of the hotel to Central Bank.

The Attorney General (AG) yesterday distanced himself from the hotel’s recovery by the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC).

So, if the documents were forged, who did it?

At the port of Mombasa, the transaction to buy 50 per cent of shares held by Shell, Chevron and BP in the Kenya Petroleum Refinery Limited (KPRL), has not only annoyed the Indians, but has brought to the fore just how Libya has muscled all its diplomatic, political and economic clout to get the lucrative deal even after the Indians, through their company, Essar Energy Overseas Ltd, won the tender in December last year.

The battle lines are slowly getting drawn.

Essar Energy Overseas Limited concluded a transaction of the purchase of 50 per cent shares by Shell, Chevron and BP in KPRL, Mombasa in December 2007. As per the Shareholders Agreement between the Government and the Industry shareholders, the Government has the Right of Pre-emption if the industry shareholders decide to sell their shares.

Accordingly, when the transaction was signed, the Government was approached by the three oil companies to waive its first right of purchase. This request has been extended three times, raising concern mainly amongst cadres of the Energy ministry, Foreign Affairs and Essar.

The last deadline passed on March 19.

The refinery in Changamwe, Mombasa, has a capacity of around 72,000 barrels per day and is an attractive investment. The intended modernization programme is to increase current production of liquefied petroleum gas, from the current 30,000 tonnes to 120,000 tonnes per year.

At the centre of the diplomatic row is the Finance ministry which has apparently been using delaying tactics probably as a way to force Essar to give up its bid and give Oilibya an easy way in.

The Libyans are slowly mastering their way into Kenya, having entered the downstream market with a rebranding of the former Mobil petrol stations.

However, during his recent trip to Uganda during the official opening ceremony of the Gadaffi National Mosque on March 19 in Kampala, Colonel Muammar Gadaffi held talks with President Kibaki. Whether this involved the pending business is not clear. The Presidential Press Service did not answer queries about the issue even after numerous calls and emails.

But the Indians are not taking it lying down, correspondence obtained by the Business Daily, shows that in a meeting held on March 12 this year, India raised concerns about the KPLR issue and urged his Kenyan counterpart to raise the issue with the Finance and Energy ministries.
The Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a letter signed by Ms Mercy Odongo on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, conveyed the Indians concerns to the ministries in a letter that clearly emphasised the fears and concerns of Essar.

“The matter is still being discussed in government. These consultations could take some while. In that regard and the fact that a number of ministries and stakeholders are involved, Foreign Affairs may not be in a position to provide further information at the moment,” Mr Eliphas Barine of the Foreign Affairs ministry said.

The Indians are said to have pledged to use over $400 million (about Sh22 billion) in both equity and loans to upgrade the refinery, a process that would eventually dilute the 50 per cent share holding by the Government.

But the hurdle at the KPLR goes beyond the foreign relations and even deeper into matters of bi-lateral lending between Kenya and its erstwhile Indian partner.

This is because of Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank).

Exim normally finances Indian firms for acquisition of overseas businesses including leveraged buy-outs and structured financing options. According to a Ministry of Energy official, Exim bank was to be the main financer for Essar for the KPLR transaction.

Essar is considering taking legal action to scuttle the process for the Libyans and might end up in a court out of Kenya where the three KPLR shareholders can arbitrate a dispute against the Kenyan Government.

This will not be without precedent for the Libyans in Kenya. A Czech firm, Skoda Export which partnered with Tamoil (the predecessor of Oilibya) for the Kenya-Uganda oil pipeline sued Oilibya in a London court over contractual difficulties between them. The London suit was one of the reasons that led to the stalling of the oil pipeline extension to Uganda. The suit was however thrown out for lack of jurisdiction in late March this year.

India and Libya want a foothold on the East African coast as it will be one of the three entries to extensive offshore oil exploration in Africa with huge potential. Already, the Southern African and Western African coast have already been clinched by western countries and China.

Mr Kamlesh Pattni

In Nairobi, intense lobbying for the ownership of Grand Regency hotel has been set off following the decision by Mr Pattni to surrender it to the Central Bank.

The hotel had been placed under charge in the mid 1990s over $210 million (Sh14 billion at current exchange rates) that Mr Pattni’s defunct Exchange Bank had borrowed from the Central Bank and failed to pay.

Mr Pattni said he had surrendered the prestigious hotel under the Economic Crimes Act of 2003, which allows for pardoning of perpetrators who forfeit proceeds and assets from stolen public funds to the state.

But that is half the story.

“Investors know that they can make money if they bought the hotel,” one investor interested in the facility said. But there is more in the Grand Regency saga.

Recent reports suggesting that the hotel has since been sold to Libyan investors and denied by the Central Bank are understood to be part of the shadow boxing tactics among prospective investors. There have since been questions over the authenticity of the correspondence on which the reports were based.

Valuers contacted by The Business Daily valued the property at between Sh8 billion to Sh12 billion compared to the Sh1.6 billion mentioned in the reports. It has since emerged from dealmakers advising various interest groups on how to approach the transaction that two investment groups, assisted by some politicians, are seeking to get the better of each other in the deal.

A third force exists in the form of politicians led by Imenti South MP Gitobu Imanyara who want the hotel sold to the public. The Law Society of Kenya has also threatened to seek legal redress if no competitive bidding is done in line with public procurement rules.

Patronage is seen to be in favour of Libyan investors especially after the government signed a memorandum of understanding on investment with the Libyan government.

Legally, CBK being the chargees can single-handedly choose who to sell the property to through either private treaty or public auction. Grand Regency was owned by Uhuru Highway Development Company which Mr Pattni acquired from the family of the late Mohamed Aslam, owners of the collapsed Pan Africa Bank.

Mr Pattni was the subject of a Commission of Inquiry into the Goldenberg scandal which started in February 2003 and ended in September 2004 The commission recommended that he, alongside other culprits, be prosecuted and made to pay back the stolen money. Under the Economic Crimes Act, however, those who agree to return the property they are cleared of all the charges.

Under the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act of 2003, KACC is given the powers to recover any property that is deemed to have been acquired illegally. However, this is done after the KACC institutes proceedings at the High Court and adduce evidence that the person has unexplained assets which have been obtained through corruption.

In the recent recovery of Grand Regency, at least three court cases which were still on going even as he gave up the property. The KACC is said to have offered Pattni amnesty in after he surrendered the property.

Further, the statement by Mr Wako also raises issues on the manner of cooperation between the AG’s office and KACC, the two are supposed to compliment each other but seem to be working at a cross purpose without briefing each other.

“As the legal advisor to the government, the AG’s opinion should have been sought before awarding amnesty to Pattni,” says Prof Githu Muigai, a leading lawyer.

But Pattni remains a sideshow in the battle between the Libyans and Indians.

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African Press InternationaL – API

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Raila is a tactical man who loves power – He seeks end to amnesty talk because that would make ODM thrown out of the coalition soon

Posted by African Press International on June 30, 2008

On realising that if ODM continues pushing for amnesty for thugs who were involved in post election violence, while helping ODM in their hunger for power, might rock the coalition government, Raila seeks to end amnesty talk. Why does he fear the break up of the coalition? Is it power that these men are now enjoying making them forget the thugs that helped them get the little power that they now have? (api)

Story by DANIEL OTIENO

Prime Minister Raila Odinga is seeking to bring to an end the amnesty debate, saying the Government will soon release a report.

Mr Odinga called for patience, saying, the Government was committed to resolving the issue once and for all.

The PM said that although the police had indicated that only 103 people were being held in connection with the post-election violence, the numerous complaints raised by the public had necessitated an investigation.

The police say that they arrested 103 people and you are saying that very many people disappeared. We will investigate the matter soon, he said.

This issue has divided the grand coalition Cabinet with a section of leaders led by Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Martha Karua insisting that those linked to violence must face the law.

Another group led by Agriculture minister William Ruto maintains that charging the suspects would be tantamount to selective application of the law given that the street protests were organised by top government officials who are yet to be summoned to face the law.

There have also been calls from within the Government that the President and the PM find an amicable solution to the fate of those arrested in connection with the skirmishes.

Mr Odinga said the Commission of Inquiry into post-election violence led by Mr Justice Philip Waki, which begins its work Tuesday, would look in to the causes of the violence.

The PM, who was speaking at the home-coming party of Nyando MP Fred Outa urged Kenyans to come out in large numbers and testify before the commission to help uncover what happened after the polls.

Meanwhile, a nominated MP and a section of lawyers have questioned the Governments commitment to the reconciliation process, saying that it was sending conflicting information.

Ethnic relations

MP Millie Odhiambo and lawyers Haroun Ndubi and Cyprian Nyamwamu said that although Ms Karua had published the National Ethnic and Race Relations Commission Bill, her stand on the post-election violence suspects was wanting.

Mr Ndubi said the minister ought to push for alternative methods of justice as she forges ahead with the process of addressing the injustices that led to the chaos.

They spoke in Kisumu at a public forum where Ms Odhiambo said she would lobby colleagues to throw out the Bill.

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API/NATION.KE

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Rwanda to send troops to Somalia

Posted by African Press International on June 30, 2008

Rwanda President Paul Kagama on Sunday said his country would send peacekeeping troops to Somalia, APA learnton Sunday.

Kagame, who is attending the African Union summit in Sharm el-Sheik told journalists that his country is still working to send troops to join the African mission in Somalia but he did not give a date for the deployment.

Rwanda is among the few African countries that pledged to send troops to Somalia. The AU planned to have 8,000 troops deployed.

Other countries are Nigeria, Ghana and Malawi, Uganda and Burundi.

However it is only Uganda and Burundi troops, numbering around 2,600, that are currently deployed in Somalia.

The federal transitional government of Somalia is also backed by Ethiopian troops which have been in the country since December 2006.

Countries that pledged to send troops but have not done so cite political and financial constrains for the delay.

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API/APA

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AU calls for negotiation to solve Zimbabwe election crisis

Posted by African Press International on June 30, 2008

The African Union Commission chairman Jean Ping on Monday urged for dialogue and negotiation to avoid election violence in Zimbabwe.

He told the opening ceremony of the AU summit here in Sharm el-Sheik that regional communities also need to play their role in bringing peace and stability to Zimbabwe.

Earlier, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak also called for negotiation to solve the Zimbabwe election crisis.

The calls for negotiation came as the world waits to see what measures the AU will take to resolve the political crisis in Zimbabwe.

Many officials are suggesting \”Kenyan style\” power-sharing but it is not yet clear if President Robert Mugabe or opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai are ready for power sharing.

Mugabe, who is attending the summit, looked happy and full of confidence while the AU called for negotiation to solve his country\s political election.

Ping focused his address on conflicts which have resulted in instability in the African region.

He cited as challenges to the AU the conflicts in Darfur, and between Chad and Sudan, Eritrea and Djibouti, and Ethiopia and Eritrea.

He said the AU was ready to assist in solving these conflicts but urged the international community to help financially so as to strengthen the AU peacemaking efforts in the region.

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API/APA

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Malawi requests UN for more funding of its DRC troops

Posted by African Press International on June 30, 2008

The Malawi government has made a special request to the United Nations to release more funds to allow Lilongwe to send additional troops to the Democratic Republci of Congo, local Zodiak Broadcasting Station (radio) reported Monday.

Malawi has 111 soldiers in the DRC who are assisting in bringing peace to the war-torn but mineral rich nation, the radio said, quoting Malawi Defence Force (MDF)s Brigadier General Chinjala who made the plea in Goma, DRC, during a five-day tour with local journalists in that country.

Chinjala told journalists that the Malawi army contingent in the DRC was overwhelmed by a huge workload, hence the need to send additional soldiers to alleviate the situation.

\”When we visited our soldiers in Kisangani region where they are based, we saw that there was too much work for them. We therefore thought of talking to the division commander to ask the UN if we could send more troops now that the soldiers are moving from Kisangani to Goma,\” he said.

He said government was hopeful of a positive response from the UN head office after being briefed by the UN Division Commander in the DRC.

The visit was meant to re-supply the troops, boost their morale and discuss with the authorities the logistical issues needed as the Malawian soldiers move from Kisangani to Goma.

Soldiers from across the world under United Nations Peace Mission are trying to secure the partial peace in the DRC due to the long war that has so far seen thousands of civilian people dead.

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API/APA

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Posted by African Press International on June 30, 2008

Zimbabwes Robert Mugabe arrived here on Monday morning to attend the African Union, a day after he was sworn in as the newly elected president on Sunday.

Mugabe arrived a day after the 15-member AU Peace and Security Council held a meeting on Sunday in which the Zimbabwe election crisis was discussed.

The Western media at the conference are also concentrating on him even though he has refused to talk to them.

During the discussions yesterday, the council did not take any official position on the disputed elections in Zimbabwe.

But a number of human rights activists and individuals are lobbying for sanctions against his government.

“Sanctions should be imposed. But it should be sanctions that will not hurt the people, an observer told APA.

Many observers are suggesting an arms embargo against the Mugabe regime.

The theme of the summit, however, is the Millennium Development goals on water and sanitation in Africa.

Over 40 African leaders are attending the summit.

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API/APA

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Bill Clinton says Barack Obama must ‘kiss my ass’ for his support

Posted by African Press International on June 30, 2008

By Tim Shipman in Washington and Philip Sherwell in New York

Last updated: 1:13 AM BST 29/06/2008

Bill Clinton is so bitter about Barack Obama’s victory over his wife Hillary that he has told friends the Democratic nominee will have to beg for his wholehearted support.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama appear side-by-side in UnityHillary Clinton has put on a united front with Barack Obama

Mr Obama is expected to speak to Mr Clinton for the first time since he won the nomination in the next few days, but campaign insiders say that the former president’s future campaign role is a “sticking point” in peace talks with Mrs Clinton’s aides.

The Telegraph has learned that the former president’s rage is still so great that even loyal allies are shocked by his patronising attitude to Mr Obama, and believe that he risks damaging his own reputation by his intransigence.

A senior Democrat who worked for Mr Clinton has revealed that he recently told friends Mr Obama could “kiss my ass” in return for his support.

A second source said that the former president has kept his distance because he still does not believe Mr Obama can win the election.

Mr Clinton last week issued a tepid statement, through a spokesman, in which he said he “is obviously committed to doing whatever he can and is asked to do to ensure Senator Obama is the next president of the United States “.

Mr Obama was more effusive at his unity event with Mrs Clinton on Friday, speaking fondly of the absent former president, who attended Nelson Mandela’s birthday celebrations in London instead. The candidate told the crowd: “I know how much we need both Bill and Hillary Clinton as a party. They have done so much great work. We need them badly.”

But his aides said he has so far concentrated on cementing relations with Mrs Clinton first. They say they are content to let relations with Mr Clinton thaw gradually.

It has long been known that Mr Clinton is angry at the way his own reputation was tarnished during the primary battle when several of his comments were interpreted as racist.

But his lingering fury has shocked his friends. The Democrat told the Telegraph: “He’s been angry for a while. But everyone thought he would get over it. He hasn’t. I’ve spoken to a couple of people who he’s been in contact with and he is mad as hell.

“He’s saying he’s not going to reach out, that Obama has to come to him. One person told me that Bill said Obama would have to quote kiss my ass close quote, if he wants his support.

“You can’t talk like that about Obama – he’s the nominee of your party, not some house boy you can order around.

“Hillary’s just getting on with it and so should Bill.”

Another Democrat said that despite polls showing Mr Obama with a healthy lead over Republican John McCain, Mr Clinton doesn’t think he can win.

The party strategist, who was allied to one of the early rivals to Mr Obama and the former First Lady, said Mr Clinton was “very unhopeful” about the nominee’s prospects in November.

“Bill Clinton knows the party will unite behind Obama, but he is telling people he doesn’t believe Obama can win round voting groups, especially working-class whites, in the swing states,” the strategist said.

“He just doesn’t think Obama will be able to connect with the voters he needs.”

Joe Klein, the author of Primary Colours, a fictionalised account of Mr Clinton’s 1992 election, who has known the former president for 20 years, said he also heard that he was “very, very bitter”, from people who have spoken with him.

“It’s time for him to get over it or go off and do his charitable work. He knows the rules of the road. What’s going on now is kind of strange. I think his behaviour is really, really shocking.”

Story from Telegraph News:
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Api

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Bill Clinton knows the party will unite behind Obama, but he is telling people he doesnt believe Obama can win

Posted by African Press International on June 30, 2008

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Bill Clinton says Barack Obama must kiss my ass for his support

By Tim Shipman in Washington and Philip Sherwell in New York
Last updated: 1:13 AM BST 29/06/2008

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/uselection2008/barackobama/2211812/Bill-Clinton-says-Barack-Obama-must-%27kiss-my-ass%27-for-his-support.html?service=print

EXCERPTS

Bill Clinton is so bitter about Barack Obamas victory over his wife Hillary that he has told friends the Democratic nominee will have to beg for his wholehearted support.

Mr Obama is expected to speak to Mr Clinton for the first time since he won the nomination in the next few days, but campaign insiders say that the former presidents future campaign role is a sticking point in peace talks with Mrs Clintons aides.

The Telegraph has learned that the former presidents rage is still so great that even loyal allies are shocked by his patronising attitude to Mr Obama, and believe that he risks damaging his own reputation by his intransigence.

A senior Democrat who worked for Mr Clinton has revealed that he recently told friends Mr Obama could kiss my ass in return for his support.

A second source said that the former president has kept his distance because he still does not believe Mr Obama can win the election.

Another Democrat said that despite polls showing Mr Obama with a healthy lead over Republican John McCain, Mr Clinton doesnt think he can win.

The party strategist, who was allied to one of the early rivals to Mr Obama and the former First Lady, said Mr Clinton was very unhopeful about the nominees prospects in November.

Bill Clinton knows the party will unite behind Obama, but he is telling people he doesnt believe Obama can win round voting groups, especially working-class whites, in the swing states, the strategist said.

He just doesnt think Obama will be able to connect with the voters he needs.

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API

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WILL KENYA GET A NEW CONSTITUTION IN LESS THAN A YEAR?

Posted by African Press International on June 30, 2008

Constitution making failures has been one of the great eyesore to afflict post independence Kenya. We did get a constitution prior to being independent as a country as a starting point, but subsequently there has been a lot of bungling and blunders along the way till this has become too sensitive and risky to handle.

Various attempts towards realizing a new constitution in the recent past has just hit the wall. Kenya’s history in making a new constitution is quite inglorious. Vested selfish interests and bad politics has been the biggest hurdle towards realizing a new constitution dispensation. Most of the amendments to the constitution since independence have been largely selfish and only entrenched the interests of the potentates in power and those in the corridors of the same.

After NARC came to power in 2003 there was so much hope and this was immediately replicated especially in the economic realm where some fundamental reforms spurred economic activities setting the country to a new economic paradigm. But governance still remains an issue with weak institutions of governance not inspiring much hope. The only way out of future political uncertainty is instutionalizing governance such that the stability and peace of the nation is no longer dependent on the benevolence of an individual or a set or group of individuals. This is the 21st century and we ought to change style. Anybody in the know today will tell you that national borders have become irrelevant in creating wealth and guaranteeing good living. Yet government and governance in the third world is the biggest impediment to their citizenry enjoying quality life and correctly participating in the global economy and arena.

Let’s pose for a moment. What does the kind of Robert Mugabe leadership in Zimbabwe bestow to the citizenry of that country other than hopelessness and misery. Unfortunately Mugabe believes he is Zimbabwe and a Zimbabwe is Mugabe. Similarly in Kenya this was almost the case not long ago. Even in today’s Kenya all is not well. We have people who means well but a lot more who in positions of influence think that they are deities of some sort ordained to roughshod their evil intent and greed on the rest of the citizenry.

These are the simple facts that have lead to malfunctioning institutions who are largely existing just by name. So long as the culture of dictatorial tendencies and habits is not checked by institutionalized law and order we can forget about building a modern democracy. Unfortunately the signs are that most part of the republic is such that the level of ignorance and poverty has it that those who get into leadership can sit pretty and enjoy exploiting the majority with total impunity. The middle class who would naturally feel aggrieved are not any better. Many have tentacles to the evil system, of exploitation and influence.

The way to rid Kenya the evil cycle of confused politics, exploitation, myopia, tribalism,’grabiosis’, violence and directionless state of affairs is a complete overhaul of the constitution and instutionalizing governance. Lets asks an indicative question. How come that the founder of Microsoft company, Mr. Bill Gates can quit the cash rich company that he founded and the company has no hassles or chaos. The simple answer is that the institution of Micro-Soft is robustly organized and governed such that the business remains intact no matter who is in leadership. After all the system of governance in place can easily sort out any bad element who by fluke or by any chance happen to get to the leadership which is in itself quite hard. The same can be said of other great institutions of business like Google, Coca-cola, General Electric, Sony, General Motors, Toyota etc. The same can also be said of robust democracies (no matter their weaknesses) like USA, Britain, Japan, Italy, Japan, France, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Spain, Irelandetc.

But with due regards to how our politicians and leaders in general have behaved in the past and how they are presently behaving, is that we need to be very suspicious on constitution review or reforms. Simply stating there is no goodwill from the government and the assumed opposition in general. Nobody is interested in making a new constitution. Is it any wonder that everybody want to get to win the presidency, get a cabinet post or form the government by all means. The simple reason is that there is so much to eat. The constitution reformation is just a nuisance to the ruling elite and politicians in general. At times our nation looks un-necessarily hopeless! Right now everybody in position of influence is busy on self preservation and scheming to be in position of influence or ‘eating’ after the next presidential and general election. Nothing for the common man as usual. Kenya continuously suffers political and leadership psittacosis. Poor Kenyans!

By Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda,

Nairobi.

Kenya.

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API

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Body parts plot leader sentenced

Posted by African Press International on June 30, 2008

Mastromarino apologisedand pleadedguilty
to a range of charges [GETTY]
A US dentist who masterminded a scheme to steal body parts from hundreds of corpses has been sentenced to between 18 and 54 years in prison.Michael Mastromarino, 44,admitted leading a $4.6 million operation thatstolethe body parts from funeral homes for sale to transplant operations.

In March, Mastromarino pleaded guilty to charges of body stealing, reckless endangerment and enterprise corruption, and in June he apologised for the anguish he caused.

The ring stole body parts from funeral homes in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, between 2001 and 2005.

Mastromarino, a former “oral surgeon”, owned Biomedical Tissue Services (BTS), which supplied tissue to around 10,000 patients across the US.

No medical screening

Prosecutors said that as part of the scheme, a team of so-called “cutters” removed bone, skin and tendons in an unsanitary embalming room.

The bodies were dissected without permission and were not medically screened.

These were then sold to doctors who then used them for dental implants, knee and hip replacements and other transplant procedures.

Dayna Ryancontracted Hepatitus B from
a stolen body part [GETTY]

“I am truly sorry for the pain I have caused,” Mastromarino said as he faced relatives of the dead who were in court to deliver statements. “May God have mercy on my soul.”

“He fully recognised the gravity of what he has done,” Mario Gallucci, Mastromarino’s lawyer said outside the court. “He cut some corner and that is why he is here today.”

“His sick, disgusting and appalling actions all in the name of greed, have devastated my family to the point where we can never recover,” Dayna Ryan told the court.

Ryan, 44, contracted Hepatitus B after receiving one of the stolen body parts during an operation on her lower spine.

“In all of this, we’re trying to find completeness and wholeness for him and we’ll never find that, but that’s our quest because he was just chopped up … we’re just trying to put him back together,” said Karen del Re, whose father wasalso harvested by BTS.

Co-defendents

Three others who worked with Mastromarino have also been charged, as were a number of funeral home directors.

Chris Aldorasi, one of the “cutters”, was found guilty of enterprise corruption and other criminal counts earlier in June; he was sentenced to between nine and 27 years in jail.

The plundered bodies included that of the veteran British journalist Alistair Cooke, author of the BBC’s long-running Letter from America;he died in 2004, aged 95, in New York.

During Aldorasi’s trial, Cooke’s daughter testified that she had never spoken to BTS about them harvesting her father’s body.

“Definitely not,” said Susan Cooke-Kitteridge, when sked if she had given permission for the procedure. “My father would have been against that.”

Another “cutter”, Lee Cruceta, pleaded guilty and testified against Aldorasi and now faces up to 20 years in prison.

A fourth co-defendent is still awaiting trial.

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API/Aljazeera

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Guatemala ministers killed in crash

Posted by African Press International on June 30, 2008

Colomcancelled attendance at a summit in Mexico following the news[AFP]
Vinicio Gomez, Guatemala’s interior minister, and Edgar Hernandez, his deputy, have been killed in a helicopter crash, along with the pilot and one other person.

Authorities said the cause of the crash was under investigation.

Juan Luis Florido, the Guatemalan attorney general, said the search for the victims would intensify on Saturday, as officials had not yet been able to reach the crash site.

The helicopter, whichwas flying the government officials to a regional security meeting, went down on Friday in Purulha, in the central part of the country.

Alvaro Colom, Guatemala’s president, canceled attendance at Saturday’s Mexico-Central American summit in Villahermosa, Mexico, because of the minister’s death,his spokesmansaid.

Fernando Barrillas,thespokesman,said: “The Mexican government is already lending its support. It has put a plane at the president’s disposal to take him from Villahermosa to Guatemala tomorrow.”

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API/Aljazeera

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Anwar Ibrahim faces sodomy inquiry

Posted by African Press International on June 30, 2008

Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia’s opposition leader and former deputy prime minister, is facing new accusations of sexual misconduct.

The oppositionKeadilan party said thathe had been accused ofsodomising a male aide.

AnwartoldAl Jazeera on Sunday that the allegationwas apoliticalattackfrom the governmentafter his opposition party and its allies made big gains in March elections.

“This is because there is growing support for the People’s Alliance [group of opposition parties]among members of parliament … the government is under threat and there is also a lot of disgruntlement among the Malaysian public against the abuse of power andeconomic woes,” he said.

Ku Chin Wah, Kuala Lumpur’s police chief for criminal investigations, said police were investigating the complaint.

No formal charges have been made.

Policedeclined to identify who made the complaint butthe opposition Keadilan party said that Saiful Bahari, one of Anwar’s aides, had been arrested on Saturday and “forced” to make a statement saying Anwar had sodomised him.

‘Dirty tactics’

Anwar wasousted from government in a power struggle in 1998amid charges ofcorruption and sodomy.

He was convicted on both charges the following year and served six years in jail before the sodomy conviction was overturned.

The fresh accusations, Anwar says,are “dirty tactics”to cover up evidence of governmentmisconduct and evidence tampering.

“I have … made it known that I have in my possession, documents implicating the inspector-general of police and the attorney-general in misconduct, including the fabrication of evidence in the cases launched against me in 1998 and 1999,” he said.

“I fear for my safety … my friends are very concerned for my safety. I was beaten to near death whenI was in detention … but they [the authorities] have given a flimsy statement thatI will not be arrested for now.”

Abdullah Badawi, Malaysia’s prime minister,denies Anwar’s charges.

“The government has no intention of wanting to make life difficult for him or to harass him,” Abdullah said.

Police investigation

Ismail Omar, Kuala Lumpur’s deputy police chief, confirmed a sodomy complaint had been lodged but said Anwar would not be arrested “at the moment”.

“We will investigate this report first. We will look into it and carry out the necessary steps before issuing any warrant of arrest,” AFP news agency quoted him as saying.

If eventually charged, Anwar could face 20 years in prison.

Param Cumarasamy, the former UN special rapporteur on the independence of lawyers and judges, says the government’s handling of the incident will be carefully scrutinised, both by the Malaysian public and by the international community.

“It is just not Anwar that is going to be on trial here. Once again, the entire institute of justice is going to be on trial,” he told Al Jazeera.

“The question which will be asked, is whether Anwar will receive a fair prosecution.”

Anwar led an alliance of opposition parties to unprecedented gains in elections in March, wresting a third of parliamentary seats and five states from the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

Since then he has claimed he has the support of enough members of parliament to form a new government.

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API/Aljazeera

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