Charterhouse Exposed and other storos

Hot on the heels of the Kroll Report, Wikileaks has now leaked documents related to the Charterhouse saga.

Charterhouse is still under statutory management, while the CBK investigates allegations of money laundering among other things. Three of the whistle blowers who first broke the story are now in exile after receiving death threats.

Unlike the leak of the Kroll report by Wikileaks, which received extensive local coverage by the media, the release of the Charterhouse documents has been given a blackout by local media (who incidentally have also been covering the KACC bill extensively) and has only been picked up by Kenyan bloggers. Makes one wonder whether there is self-censorship going with the media, and if so then how powerful are the people behind Charterhouse?

Then, there is the “so what” question. Kroll leaked…so what? Charterhouse leaked…so what? The government is not bothered (see sidebar for stories on the government’s reacion), and parliament continues to exceed its capacity for dithering by letting corruption suspects off the hook.

My two cents, there’s a lot of reason for us to get apathetic about grand corruption in Kenya since our outrage doesn’t seem to be having an effect, but I don’t think people should give up. Sustained pressure on the government can have an effect – take the Media Bill as a case in point – if the Kenyan media could extend their activism beyond issues that are of self-interest to issues that are of national interest who knows what could happen. Also, at least we are now getting to find out about corruption almost on a breaking news basis, rather than 5-6 years later in cases like Goldenberg. Still those are crumbs…we need to see people in jail, money repatriated etc.

And, I wish I could believe the ODM rhetoric . Nairobi gossip has it that moneyed folks (and not to pinpoint, but Asian business people especially) who are generally believed to be pro-Kibaki because of how well the economy is doing, are actually supporting ODM because of how tightly they are being squeezed by KRA (which is also viewed as a Kikuyu outfit). All those tax evaders and people who survived on “deals” during the Moi years are having it rough…for instance it’s now quite pleasant doing business with government for a number of reasons – you don’t require a middleman to get the tender (generally) and you get paid. So they are betting that bringing ODM into government will be good for tax evasion and shady business. And these are serious guys I’m talking about. There’s lots of strange bedfellows in Kenyan politics right now…very surprising to me that ODM is being supported by poor people who feel that they’ve been locked out by the Kibaki govt and rich people who feel that they’ve been locked out by the Kibaki govt.

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