The long title for this article is; ‘Pattni, Muite, Tobiko: The scramble for gold and land in Goldenberg International Limited and World Duty Free Company Limited – PART ONE (a)’. It is a public awareness article on how Kenya’s judiciary continue to be held hostage by a cable of less than five lawyers.
Kamlesh Mansukhlal Damji Pattni aka Brother Paul is a free man. Justice Joseph Mbalu Mutava freed him of criminal and civil liability on 20th March, 2013. Justice Mutava faces the imminent threat of removal from office on account of this action.
There are many more players in the free Brother Paul operation on whom a spotlight should be flushed. Key amongst them are Hon. Paul Kibugi Muite and Keriako Tobiko.
We detail the three musketeers’ involvement in the scramble of gold and land. It is an intriguing chronicle of how Kenyans lost over Kshs. 5.8 Billion in cash at Central Bank of Kenya. It is an expose of how 500 acres of airport land was stolen and sold off. Brother Paul, Hon. Muite and Tobiko feature in the two scandals.
LSK’s private prosecution of Pattni through Hon. Paul Muite.
In 1994, LSK mandated a team led by Hon. Muite, to prosecute Pattni and 5 others. The charge related to the theft of over Kshs. 18 Billion. The accused had stolen from the public and the Government of Kenya. A similar prosecution was filed by Hon. Raila Odinga. The LSK’s complaint was terminated by the Court upon an application by the AG. The AG also, entered a nolle prosequi against the case by Hon. Raila Odinga.
In the background of these developments, Hon. Muite was alleged to have been bribed and compromised by Pattni. A Sub-Committee of LSK inquired on the matter. Its members were Retired Justice Phillip John Ransley and Benjamin Aggrey Okuom. In a letter dated 21st January, 1999, LSK’s Chairman, Nzamba Kitonga asked the Sub-Committee to consider the allegations. Nzamba stated:-
“Apart from the considerable public interest that these claims have generated, this Society is interested in this matter firstly as the regulatory body responsible for the maintenance of ethical standards in the legal profession and, secondly, because the allegations against Mr. Muite relate to this conduct as an Advocate acting for this Society…”
The Sub-Committee was required to establish the link between Hon. Muite and Multiphasic Export Company Limited. The bribe was alleged to have been paid by Pattni and received by Hon. Muite through the company. The company was closely related to Hon. Muite.
The witnesses on the complaint against Hon. Muite were Pattni, James Mburu and Githuthu. Pattni and Mburu, an employee of Hon. Muite, gave statements to the Sub-Committee. Hon. Muite too, gave a statement. Githuthu whose Advocate was Lee Muthoga refused to give a statement.
The Sub-Committee stated that it had seen all the copies of the cheques produced by Pattni and Hon. Muite. The cheques appeared to be regular on the face of it. They were accepted as genuine and therefore did not need the Central Bank’s re-confirmation.
The allegation made against Hon. Muite was that he received Kshs. 20 Million from Pattni. Kshs. 5 Million was received in cash at the house of Githuthu. The balance of Kshs. 15 Million was paid by three bankers cheques to Multiphasic Export Company Limited. The cheques were collected by Mburu from Pattni’s office at the request of Hon. Muite on 15th July, 1993.
Pattni alleged that in return for the payment of Kshs. 20 Million, Hon. Muite handed to him, the original final report of Goldenberg series. The report was titled “Goldenberg Story” and was written by journalist Sarah Elderkin.
The report was to be serialized in the Daily Nation but was never published following the bribery claim. Pattni alleged that Hon. Muite undertook to delete Goldenberg from the list of suspects against which LSK intended to institute private criminal prosecution.
It is apparent that this disclosures were made by Pattni because Hon. Muite refused to meet his end of the bargain. Hon. Muite led the LSK team that charged Pattni in 1994, a year after Hon. Muite is alleged to have received the Kshs. 20 Million bribe. Hon. Muite personally drafted the charge sheet against Pattni and signed it. It was a betrayal of monstrous propositions by Hon. Muite. Pattni and Hon. Muite will forever be at cross-roads.
Mburu met Pattni at View Park Towers. Pattni handed him cheque serial numbers 002214 for Kshs. 4,850,150, 002215 for Kshs. 4,914,210 and 003018 for Kshs. 5,235,640. The three cheques totaled Kshs. 15 Million. The cheques were drawn upon Exchange Bank Limited, View Park Towers
Branch, Nairobi. Mburu encashed the cheques. Hon. Muite instructed Mburu to make a number of payments on his behalf from the Kshs. 15 Million.
Part of the Kshs. 15 Million was paid to National Bank of Kenya Limited. Muite’s Company, Inter-national Business Consultants Limited, was indebted to the Bank. The payment went towards repayment of the loan.
Mburu had spilled the beans against Hon. Muite. Hon. Muite had shortchanged Mburu on the deal in the sharing of the Kshs. 20 Million. Mburu had resisted attempts at arbitration called by Hon. Muite and went ahead to give a dossier on Hon. Muite to LSK. Mburu did not realize that Hon. Muite had control over LSK and that his complaint was headed nowhere. The Affidavit contained a plea for a truce by Hon. Muite. The plea was set out in a letter dated 8th May, 1998 from Hon. Muite to Mburu. The letter said in part and we quote:-
“I keep repeating that it is the goodwill I would like to have as the reference point in our future relationship and therefore ask, yet once again, that you consider the arbitration route.”
This communication related to a dispute between Hon. Muite and Mburu over land. Hon. Muite’s relationship with Mburu had hit rock bottom on account of betrayal. The two were irreconcilable just as Hon. Muite and Pattni had come to be.
Before the Sub-committee, Pattni gave more damning evidence against Hon. Muite. Guilders International Finance Limited which is owned by Pattni, advanced a loan to Hon. Muite. The loan was taken by Hon. Muite through Multiphasic Export Company Limited. Hon. Muite was a shareholder of the company. Hon. Muite had agreed to pledge his shares to Kenya Finance Company Limited as security for the loan. Hon. Muite disowned a letter dated 30th May, 1995 signed in his name from Multiphasic Export Company Limited on this transaction.
Hon. Muite never challenged the testimonies of Pattni and Mburu on the bribery allegations. His response was limited to an attack on the honesty and character of his accusers. The Sub-Committee found no evidence to support Hon. Muite’s attacks on his accusers.
The Sub-Committee concluded that Hon. Muite had not justified how else if not as alleged, he had received the Kshs. 20 Million. The Sub-Committee stated thus:-
“We feel, however, that had Mr. Muite shown that the payments alleged by Multiphasic to have been made on his behalf were not in fact in respect of either sums due from him or that if moneys were due they were paid in some other manner, this would have been helpful to us. As it is, taking just one example, namely the payment of a bill at Karen Golf Club for Mr. Muite of Kshs. 200/-: had it been shown that this was paid in some other way or the cheque was paid for some other person, it would have been helpful, as it does not appear that the debt was due from Mr. Muite and was paid by Multiphasic.”
The Sub-Committee disregarded Pattni’s and Mburu’s evidence on the cash payment of Kshs. 5 Million. The balance of Kshs. 15 Million was proved. However, the Sub-Committee looked for a way to exonerate Hon. Muite. This is what it stated:-
“Having so found, it is our view that Muite did nothing wrong by accepting the sum of Kshs. 15 Million, as there appears to have been no improper motive for the payment of the money. Even if the reason given by Mr. Pattni is accepted, namely, that the payment was for the withdrawal from publication of the third article about Goldenberg mentioned hereinbefore, there is no evidence whatsoever of any wrongdoing on the part of Mr. Muite who received the said payment through Multiphasic Export Company Limited.”
These facts beg primordial questions. Why was Hon. Muite receiving payment from Pattni? Why was it timed to the period when Hon. Muite had just been instructed by LSK to prosecute Pattni? Those questions were never answered. The inquiry by LSK was a well planned cover-up and Nzamba who initiated it, would later end up doing many deals together with Hon. Muite.
Unknown to the appointing authority, Nzamba would end up being appointed to replace Justice Daniel Aganyanya at the Justice Bosire Commission of Inquiry on the Goldenberg Affair. It is not clear whether the intention was to have Pattni further silenced for raffling Hon. Muite. Hon. Muite and Nzamba are back representing LSK in many matters. Hon. Muite has held LSK hostage for a while now.