Ex-Swiss diplomat cleared in Sh5bn Kenya graft case
A former Swiss diplomat at the centre of the Sh5 billion Anglo Leasing bribery claims has been cleared of wrongdoing and recalled to diplomatic service.
A Swiss court that investigated Jacques Pitteloud, following claims that he had asked for bribes from Anglo-Leasing suspects while serving as Swiss ambassador in Nairobi, has declared him innocent paving the way for his return to diplomatic service.
Mr Pitteloud’s troubles began after controversial businessman Deepak Kamani claimed that he had asked for a Sh5 billion bribe in order to influence the findings of a money laundering probe involving Swiss banks.
Mr Pitteloud, who served as Swiss ambassador in Nairobi (from 2010-2015), faced a police investigations in Switzerland leading to the Swiss court’s finding that the tone used by Mr Pitteloud in his dealings during the affair was “extremely insistent and not devoid of double-entendre”.
Mr Pitteloud, who worked as Switzerland’s Intelligence Co-ordinator between 2000 and 2006 before joining the Swiss Foreign Service, is expected to take up his post in Washington “as soon as US authorities grant his accreditation.”
He had earlier claimed in an interview with the Business Daily that top Kenyan public officials knew about an alleged Sh5 billion settlement with one of the chief suspects of the Anglo Leasing scandal.
The cash, he said, was intended to be an official plea-bargain settlement with the controversial businessman.
He claimed the settlement was agreed by the two states and presented to the controversial billionaire businessman as a proposed deal for the illegally acquired Anglo Leasing proceeds in lieu of his prosecution.
“Everybody in both legal systems, Kenya and Switzerland, were aware that we were aiming for a deal with the Kamanis and we offered them a deal, which they didn’t take.
Mr Kamani, who is currently facing corruption charges in Kenya, is accused of working in concert with others to defraud the Kenyan government of billions of shillings through flawed security equipment supply contracts, commonly referred to as the Anglo Leasing scandal.
“EACC and the Attorney-General knew exactly what we were doing. They knew about the offer for a deal. If you are entering the phase of a very difficult court case and you know it will be a very long thing and it will cost a lot of money not only for the accused but also to the states that are prosecuting it’s fairly usual to go tell them, reimburse the money you have stolen we forget about the case and then justice will be done,” Mr Pitteloud said.