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NRI businessmen in Kenya scandal

The two brothers are prime suspects in a scandal involving the country's security-related contracts.

india Updated: Apr 04, 2006 13:33 IST

Kenyan authorities have announced a reward of Kenyan shillings 100,000 ($1,390) on the heads of two businessmen brothers of Indian origin.

The two brothers are prime suspects in a scandal involving the country's security-related contracts.

The Kenyan Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) has not only announced the bounty but also released pictures of Deepak Kamani and Rashmikant Kamani for easy identification by the public, media reports said.

The scandal allegedly started in 2002 when the Kenyan government wanted to replace its passport printing system.

Sophisticated passport equipment system was sourced from France and forensic science laboratories for the police were sourced from Britain.

The transaction was originally quoted at 6 million euros from a French firm but was awarded to Britain's Anglo-Leasing and Finance Company Ltd, at 30 million euros.

This firm would have sub-contracted the same French firm to do the work.

According to the reports, the tender was not publicly advertised, and its details were leaked to the media by a junior civil servant.

The Anglo-Leasing sales agent was 48-year-old Sudha Ruparel, daughter of Chamanlal Kamani, one of Kenya's wealthiest men, and sister of Rashmikant and Deepak Kamani.

Kenya's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) tabled a report on Anglo Leasing in parliament Friday, which names Deepak Kamani as one of the key people who are either agents, possible owners or possible directors of Anglo Leasing and other companies involved in the security-related contracts.

According to report in the East African Standard newspaper, the country's former ethics permanent secretary John Githongo told PAC that he had established that Deepak was behind the contract between Anglo Leasing and Kenya's ministry of home affairs, for the supply of tamper proof passports.

It was later discovered that the firm was non-existent and the money paid out to it as commitment fee was mysteriously returned to the treasury.

Government officials involved in the transaction, which would have cost the country billions of Kenyan shillings, refused to say who refunded the money.

Detectives working on the case said they have got good leads as to where the brothers might be and added that the duo might be arrested soon.

The Kamani family is one of the wealthiest in Kenya.

It has interests in flower farms, infrastructure, telecommunications, project financing, real estate, cotton as well as the hotel industry.