FBI Special agent Mario Garcia Tariche was compromised, a trial court hearing the Anglo-leasing case has been told.
The agent who travelled from the US to Nairobi, Kenya to testify on the role he played concerning investigations into the controversial Anglo-leasing contracts was at pains explaining how he signed a copy of an alleged statement taken from a witness on a date that was way before the date he met the witness (Bradley Beckenfield) to take his statement, dealing a probable death-blow to the prosecution’s case.
SC Ahmednassir Abdullahi was the one who pointed out the anomaly.
He asked the agent how he could have signed his statement on June 6 2015 while the alleged meeting took place on June 11 2015.
The agent, on oath, had said what he was presenting in court was a certified copy of events as they were recorded by a qualified stenographer in America.
Paperwork was not valid
Ahmednassir showed the agent that he signed his statement on June 6 2015 but the meeting at which the witness statement was recorded took place on June 11 2015, telling the agent that he was either compromised or his paperwork was not valid.
He also told Mario Garcia that Beckenfield had a criminal conviction in America and further asked him whether during the interview he knew he was the fifth accused in the ongoing trial in Nairobi and had an appending international warrant of arrest issued against him.
“On June 11 2015 there was a warrant of arrest still in force,” Ahmednassir charged.
Keen on clearing his name
Mario Garcia said he was not aware of the alleged criminal details against Bradley Beckenfield. He said the attorney representing Beckenfield was concerned about his client’s name being part of the investigations and was keen on clearing his name.
“As late as June 22 2015 the fifth accused person, Bradley Beckenfield, had an appending warrant of arrest,” Ahmednassir said.
The court heard that Kenyan prosecutors went to the US to have Beckenfield jump ship and become a prosecution witness to implicate accused persons facing trial in Nairobi concerning the Anglo-leasing contracts.
“I was aware this was being discussed by Kenya and Beckenfield’s lawyers,” Mario Garcia confirmed.
Ahmednassir in cross-examining the agent told the trial court a lot of plea bargaining took place with a view of implicating the accused persons on trial.
“I was present when Beckenfield’s attorney asked that he could be converted,” Mario Garcia said.
Ahmednassir was of the opinion that the conversion took place to implicate the businessmen who have been charged in connection with the Anglo-leasing case.
The FBI agent had wanted to testify behind closed doors, in-camera, on grounds of the sensitivity of his job, a request made by the prosecution but outrightly rejected by the trial magistrate Martha Mutuku after an objection from the defence as having no basis since there was no fear or threat to life.
No money was lost
Earlier, National Treasury Principal Secretary Dr Kamau Thugge during cross-examination confirmed that no money was lost and he requested EACC to close the subject and not prosecute. He said the government did not lose a single shilling.
He further confirmed that the contract “is still valid and legally binding” meaning the company in the contract can still claim for all the works done.
Dr Thugge said all monies were returned at the request of the government.
There was a momentary anticlimax in the prosecution’s case when Dr Thugge was ill-prepared to table documents that he was making his assertions concerning alleged payments for services not rendered forcing the court to expunge that bit of evidence after he failed to give documentation to support his claims.
He could neither table budgets which included the projects in question.
Dr Thugge said he was unaware that a report he made concerning the Anglo-leasing contract was based on a PwC report which had been quashed by a court order, otherwise he would not have taken any action.
“I would have put a caveat if I knew court had invalidated it,” Dr Thugge said.
The hearing resumes on November 20 2017.