Weekend Mail

Baba Drycleaners: Where traffickers, gun runners and looters do laundry

Cons, corrupt brokers, international crooks among financier’s of his presidential elections

Kitendawili: Supporters of perennial presidential hopeful Raila Odinga show their love at a rally in the 2007 elections. Most have no clue they’re pawns in the ambitions of a man with a double life.

By Pascal MJ Owade

Contributing Editor/Crime

A child trafficker, gun runners, mercenaries, looters, thieves, con artists, corrupt brokers and ‘pastor-preneurs’ were some of the cash cows bank rolling the presidential ambitions of Raila Odinga.

The former Opposition leader-now with his two Bondo feet firmly in Jubilee-has been living a double-life: condemning corruption while feeding gluttonously from its bloody palms, according to a dossier recently released by WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy agency.

The gist of the dossier is pegged on the dirty tactics Baba and his henchmen employed in his presidential election bid and the sources of campaign money (see list at the tail end). 

Let us drop the dirty political games like a bad habit, and consider elements of criminal enterprise that funded his stab at State House in the 2007 elections. 

The list of donors to the ODM kitty were from a bloody regime, international crooks, dubious businessmen, convicted cons and even one enterprising swindler who bolted from Kenya with Sh200 million, but resurfaced as Baba’s financier 20 years later.

These donors gave a total of Sh1.7 billion. Of that, Raila the person, gave nothing.

The most curious donor is Bishop Gilbert Deya, the ‘pastor-preneur.’ He gave Sh30 million at the height of his ‘miracle babies’ scandal in 2007. About Sh20 million was from his own pocket, the other from Gilbert Deya Congregation in the UK where he boasted over 30, 000 followers. Deya, who once claimed to be Baba’s ‘spiritual guide,’ is now vegetating in Syokimau, Machakos County, after his extradition from the UK over child trafficking charges in 2017.

Don Bosco Gichana donated Sh12 million to Baba, but later served five years for ‘crimes of conspiracy and money laundering’

Daring Miracles: Bishop Gilbert Deya donated Sh30 million to Baba’s presidential bid when he was facing child trafficking charges and for which he was extradited to Kenya in 2017.

Then there is Don Bosco Gichana who donated Sh12 million, besides providing  the red Hummer that triggered the ‘nyundo’ rallying call. Gichana was to later cool his Kisii heels in a Tanzanian prison for five years to 2018 after pleading guilty to ‘crimes of conspiracy and money laundering’ mostly scamming American pensioners with one foot in the grave.

But behind the scenes Baba lobbied President John Magufuli to secure Gichana’s freedom, according to Philip Etale, the ODM Director of Communications. Gichana, who says he’s smart in forex trading, commodity futures and indices trading, was released two years ago after serving time and forking the Sh15 million fine.

Raila has often spokes against corruption, but Kamlesh Pattni, the mastermind of the over Sh60 billion Goldenberg scandal which almost crippled Kenya’s economy, but his Sh13.5 million contribution was gladly received. 

Besides Goldenberg, there is local businessman Deepak Kamani and some members of his family who were implicated in the Sh56 billion Anglo Leasing scandal alongside Sri Lankan tycoon Anura Pereira.

Deepak was later charged in court alongside brother Rashmi and late father, Chamanlal Kamani, with five counts of conspiracy to obtain over Sh10 billion of public funds for “services not provided.” But Sh45 million donation from the Kamanis and Sh107 million from Pereira were received with gratitude as campaign quid. 

Zakayo Cheruiyot who was accused by the FBI of shielding Rwandese Genocide fugitive Felicien Kabuga, donated Sh4.5 million

Inside job: Don Bosco Gichana provided  the red Hummer that triggered the ‘nyundo’ rallying call. Gichana was cooling porridge in a Tanzanian jail before Raila secured his release two years ago.

Shadowy billionaire businessman Joshua Kulei, the faceless schemer and political go-between during the kleptocratic regime of the late President Daniel arap Moi gave Sh39 million, while Zakayo Cheruiyot, one-time MP for Kuresoi and former PS for Internal Security, donated Sh4.5 million.
America’s special ambassador for war crimes, Pierre-Richard Prosper, claimed in 2005 that the FBI had information Cheruiyot “has used the government infrastructure to maintain the fugitive status of Mr (Felicien) Kabuga”, the financier of the Rwanda Genocide who was then holing up in Kenya.

 Cheruiyot denied the allegations, but was later sacked by the Kibaki regime. Kabuga, 84,was arrested by French authorities this year.  
Another person of interest is Tony Teixeira who gave Sh25 million. He is a director of Energem Resources which in 2004 forked out Sh200 million for a controlling stake in Spectre International, the flagship firm of the Odingas.
Teixeira is a gun runner in South Africa and was named in the Panama Papers (Raila was not) as among corrupt international investors running shell companies in tax havens. Like Koidu Ltd which is registered in British Virgin Islands. But it runs the diamond trade through mercenary protection to mineral companies in war zones in exchange for mineral concessions in war torn African countries.

Koidu CEO Jan Joubert told the Financial Times in 2013 that they’re often fighting rebels in nasty wars besides gun running for Angolan rebels, meaning Teixeira is a beneficiary of blood money-which ended in Baba’s presidential purse.

British oil baron Tony Buckingham is a former soldier with the 32 Battalion-an assassination squad in Apartheid South Africa. He gave Sh58 million from himself and his company

Diamonds are forever: Kamlesh Pattni masterminded the Sh60 billion Goldenberg scandal that almost crippled Kenya’s economy. His Sh13.5 million donation was gladly received. He was cleared off the charges in 2013.

What was in it for these donors to give so generously to Mr Baba Man?

Well, when Raila was Minister for Roads and Public Works in the ‘Nusu Mkate’ government before the 2007 elections, Teixeira registered Energem Kenya Ltd which was awarded an exclusive license to “import refined oil products” and “bitumen for the Ministry of Roads.”

Another donor of interest is British oil baron Tony Buckingham. He is a former soldier with the 32 Battalion-an assassination squad in Apartheid South Africa. Buckingham sits on the board of Energem Resources which controls Spectre International. Energem Resources donated Sh52 million while Buckingham gave Sh6 million personal donation to the election till. Buckingham also owned Sandline International, the mercenary firm, which closed shop in 2007 but still donated Sh10 million.

American Dick Berg contributed Sh1.5 million, but had been on the run after fraudulently pocketing Sh200 million from the 4th All Africa Games kitty in 1987

Blood money: Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, a son of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi donated Sh53 million to Baba’s presidential bid. He was later ‘sentenced to death in absentia for war crimes in Libya.’

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, a son of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and who in 2015 was ‘sentenced to death in absentia for war crimes in Libya’, donated Sh53 million according to financial statements from ODM National Treasurer Omigo Magara who was assisted by Kisumu East MP Shakeel Shabbir from Campaign Resources Accounting section.

Some international con men who escaped from Kenya resurfaced as donors on Baba’s list. One is American Dick Berg who contributed Sh1.5 million. Berg  mysteriously bolted from Kenya after fraudulently pocketing Sh200 million from the 4th All Africa Games kitty in 1987. The Ministry of Sports and Social Services then was under Henry Kosgey.

Berg had been hired to market the Games and was given a Sh22 million ‘commitment fee.’ He hired an entire floor of a five star hotel from where he promised to raise Sh10 billion from loans for the Games. He also promised to bring musicians Michael Jackson, Kool & The Gang and Earth, Wind and Fire. He had bragged of vast experience with bigger tournaments like the Olympics and the World Cup. He had none. To market the Games, he placed only one advert in an international magazine.

Kosgey embarked on a manhunt for Dick Berg-who resurfaced 20 years later on the roll call of Raila financiers

The money pit: Henry Kosgey was Minister of Sports and thus in charge of the 4th All Africa Games from which name appeared next to that of Dick Berg fleeced Kenya Sh200 million in 1987. Their names appear next to each other in the list of Baba’s donors.

Before the Games got underway, Berg went under. The bill for the five star hotel was shouldered by taxpayers after Berg sent a cable from his hideout wishing organizers “success in the Games.” Of the musicians, only Jermaine Jackson-not Michael- showed up and belted out his popular song, Too Good to be True.

Kosgey embarked on a manhunt for Dick Berg-who resurfaced 20 years later on the roll call of Raila financiers with his name next to-you didn’t guess this one-Henry Kosgey who was chair of ODM!

Diplomatic cables from former American Ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger paints Kosgey in unflattering hues. The cables finger him for looting funds from the 4th All-Africa Games besides fleecing Kenya National Assurance which collapsed with Sh1.3 billion of life insurance policies. Kosgey was implicated with corruption in all the ministries he headed besides the Waki Commission naming him as among those with a hand in the 2008 post-election violence. But Kosgey and friends feathered Raila’s cap with Sh20 million.

It is from the financiers that the Head of State appoints ambassadors, heads of state corporations, Cabinet Secretaries, dishes out lucrative state tenders

You can take it to the bank: The list of donors during Baba’s bid for the presidency in 2007. Some were clean, weupe kama pamba. Others could interest the Special Crimes Unit.

What are the perils of a presidential candidate accepting campaign funds from dubious sources and merchants of questionable character? Well, it is from this breed that the Head of State appoints ambassadors, High Commissioners, diplomatic attaches, heads of state corporations and commissions, Permanent Secretaries, Cabinet Secretaries, besides dishing out civil services jobs and lucrative state tenders to the cohort of Moneybags Inc.

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