Tuesday, October 10, 2017


I was reading “It’s Our Turn to Eat” the story of a Kenyan Whistle Blower, John Githongo, who had been appointed Kenya’s anti-corruption czar signaling the new government’s (Mwai Kibaki’s) determination to put an end to sleaze. The author Michela Wrong explores the corruption endemic in African society and how one brave man made a lonely decision with huge ramifications. It is how an entire country can be munched in the clammy claws of corruption. She focuses on corruption in Kenya, and talks incisively about two  such cases which rocked Kenya during both the Moi and Kibaki eras. The Goldenberg and the Anglo Leasing Scams.

I quote a particular section in the book because of the near exact replication of what has happened in Seychelles.

“While Goldenberg, involved financial strategems so complex even economists had difficulty grasping them all, Anglo Leasing was so simple a child could master the technique. It was a classic procurement scam, needing only two parties, although for it to work one of the those parties had to be at the top of government, powerful enough to silence doubting minions and ignore institutional checks and balance (we have heard the governor of the Central Bank’s statement to the National Assembly and we also know who the top government person(s) were/was). Another vital component was the military and security nature of the contracts. In every other sector, contracts had to be put to open tender, forcing even the greediest supplier to stay within the realms of the reasonable.  Advertisements were placed in newspaper and   trade journals competitive bids collected, technical competence established, and the companies who came forward knew they might be subjected to due diligence before the relevant ministry made its decision. Any irregularities risked being picked up by opposition-dominated parliamentary committees and scoop hungry journalists. The only area escaping such scrutiny was the security and intelligence sectors, where single-sourcing, opaque negotiations and loosely worded contracts could all be justified on grounds of “national security”

Security concerns served as the perfect cover for some extraordinarily sharp practice. The Kenyan Auditor-General (like his Seychelles counter-part) discovered, that no due diligence had been carried, and no implementation schedules agreed. And once again noted that  ‘the non availability in most cases of detailed contract specification, invoices and delivery notes made it difficult to verify what was delivered, and the failure to keep an up-to-date register of assets left their whereabouts unclear. In others the Kenyan government clearly never stood to receive anything at all, given the nature of the companies it was doing business with. “At least seven of the supplier/credit providers do not exist in the countries in which they were purportedly registered and may therefore not be bona fide registered business firms.’ (In The case of Anglo Leasing, its address was a non existent street in Liverpool, England).

“Confusion over the firms’ identities was an important ingredient in the scam.” In the Anglo Leasing “scam” (the whistle blower) would be “confronted by a surreal situation of a government which appeared to have no clear idea with whom it was signing its multi-million-dollar deals. The anonymity of the contractors helped conceal both the mechanism and eventual beneficiaries of this laziest of scams.”

Were the people of Seychelles the victims of a “procurements scam’ of the type perfected in Kenya? And just as in Kenya it was thanks to a whistle blower that the whole scam was exposed it now up to the National Assembly to enact a “Whistle Blowers’ Protection Act, as well as an Access to Information Act.

It is surprising that the World Bank and the IMF have never seen it fit to question such huge capital flight from a country seeking its financial assistance with 40% of the population living below the level of poverty.

The questions I would like to ask: When will the World Bank and the IMF call in the forensic auditors/ accountants to investigate the procurements of national security and intelligence services provided to Seychelles by certain Irish personnel through certain named, and unnamed, or as yet undiscovered companies?  As A Seychelloise I have a right to know how, and why, such huge sums of money was being paid out for procurement of so called security and intelligence services where single-sourcing, opaque negotiations and loosely worded contracts was used “as justification” on alleged grounds of “national security”?

The second question is whether, Mr. James Michel when he was president in whom the executive authority of the Republic vested,  delegated the “function” of signing contracts which bind the Republic  to  Lise Bastienne or others, as “subordinate officers? [Article 66 (3)]

Alexia G. Amesbury