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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09NAIROBI1830 2009-09-01 10:10 2010-12-08 21:09 SECRET Embassy Nairobi
Appears in these articles:

DE RUEHNR #1830/01 2441009
O 011009Z SEP 09
S E C R E T NAIROBI 001830



E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/01/2019

REF: A. 2008 STATE 81854
B. Td-314/011589-09

Classified By: Classified by Ambassador Ranneberger for reasons 1.5 (b)
and (d).

1. (C) Embassy is seeking a security advisory opinion under
Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act,
Proclamation 7750, suspending the entry into the United
States of Amos Sitswila Wako and members of his family. Wako
was born in Kakamega, Western Province, Kenya on July 31,
1945. Post strongly believes Mr. Amos Wako has engaged in
and benefited from public corruption in his capacity as
Attorney General for the past 18 years by interference with
judicial and other public processes, and that this corruption
has had a serious adverse impact on U.S. national interest in
the stability of democratic institutions in Kenya, U.S.
foreign assistance goals and the international economic
activities of U.S. businesses. The following provides
information requested in ref a, paragraphs 26-28.

2. (C) Amos Wako has been Kenya,s Attorney General (AG) for
the past 18 years. During this period, despite a string of
major corruption scandals, he has not only failed to
prosecute successfully a single senior governmental figure
but he also has actively thwarted their prosecution. The
Attorney General has been repeatedly accused by civil society
groups as well as the head of the Kenyan Anti-Corruption
Commission, Justice Aaron Ringera, of failing to prosecute
cases of official corruption. Others have noted the AG,s
poor quality of legal advice to the government that helped to
facilitate both the Anglo-Leasing and Goldenberg
mega-scandals by lending his stamp of approval to fraudulent
contracts that were the basis for stealing over a billion
dollars from the Kenyan government. At the same time, in a
pattern of supporting Kenya,s culture of impunity, Wako has
been identified by the UN Special Rapporteur on
Extrajudicial, Arbitrary or Summary Executions in Kenya as
&the chief obstacle to prosecuting anyone in authority for
extrajudicial executions.8 Amos Wako has been AG since 1991,
serving under Presidents Moi and Kibaki. He is married with
two children.

3. (C) Wako,s corrupt practices have been investigated and
documented in five reports. The first is the Report of the
Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Goldenberg Affair
(October 2005), another initiative of the Kibaki
administration to investigate a massive financial scam in the
mid-1990s. The second is the Kenya National Assembly,s
Public Accounts Committee,s report on the Anglo-Leasing
scandal (March 2006), a public contracting scam which
resulted in the payment of hundreds of millions of dollars to
non-existent companies in Europe that were ostensibly to
provide big ticket items for the GOK, including ships,
passport equipment, etc. The third is the Kenya
Anti-Corruption Commission,s (KACC) status report to
President Kibaki on a number of the Anglo-Leasing contracts
(June 2006). Fourth is the report of the United Nations
Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings or summary
executions Mission to Kenya (February 2009) which discussed
police killings and post-election violence. The fifth is the
Report of the Commission to Investigate Post-Election
Violence (Waki Report ) October 2008).
Goldenberg Report

4. (C) Mwai Kibaki was elected President of Kenya in 2002 on
an anti-corruption platform that ended then President Moi's
24-year rule. While there was great expectation of change,
particularly in dealing head-on with corruption, a number of
individuals that had served President Moi remained in office.
One of those was the veteran Attorney General, Amos Wako,
who had already been in office for 11 years at the time of
Kibaki,s assumption of power. One of the scandals that
Kibaki inherited was the Goldenberg affair. The Goldenberg
affair was a scheme in which Kenyan government export
subsidies were paid out to Goldenberg International and a
range of companies around the world for gold that may or may
not have been exported and was likely smuggled into Kenya
from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is clear that
senior government officials in the Moi administration were
complicit and took payments for their complicity. By some
estimates, this scam, which reportedly lasted approximately
two years (1991-1993) cost Kenya $600 million.

5. (C) Commissioned by President Kibaki, Justice Bosire
produced the Report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry
into the Goldenberg Affair, published in October 2005. Wako
figures prominently in the report.

6. (C) The Goldenberg Report makes clear that the Attorney
General failed to move on the scandal, even as details of its
magnitude and the senior level of officials allegedly
involved were revealed. In what is a pattern of behavior,
the AG did not file the first case relating to the Goldenberg
scam despite it having already been the subject of widespread
media coverage and an investigation by the National
Assembly,s Public Accounts Committee. The first case was
filed by the Law Society of Kenya. The AG, according to the
report, &objected to the prosecution on the ground that he
was to undertake his own prosecution . . . & The AG did the
same in a case pursued by then MP Raila Odinga in 1995 where
&once again the Attorney General moved swiftly to take over
and terminate this prosecution.8 Meanwhile, the report
found that, prior to these efforts to bring Goldenberg cases
to court, &we did not receive any evidence to show that the
Attorney General moved to order police investigations into
the affair. We can only conclude that no such action was
undertaken.8 The report notes that of the nine cases
eventually filed by the AG, &the common denominator in all
these cases is that none of them was ever concluded from 1994
when they were instituted to 2003 when this Commission was
formed thereby leading to the termination of these cases.8
The report added, &In all these cases the record shows the
reluctance on the part of the Attorney General,s officers
and counsels for the accused persons to proceed.8 &The
parties seemed to move in circles and at a snail,s pace
speed,8 said the report. Continuing, the report notes,
&there was in short extreme lethargy in the prosecution of
these cases.8

7. (C) The report focused specifically on the last point
above. In paragraph 773, the Commission found that & . . .
even after charging the suspects which it had selected the
Attorney General,s office appears to have proceeded with the
cases in a most haphazard and lethargic fashion.8 The
report then proceeds to describe the &chaotic situation8
caused by the repeated initiation, withdrawal, and
consolidation of cases. Further, the report lays out
repeatedly its concern about the way in which the cases were
handled, indicating that the way in which the AG proceeded
inevitably led to a lack of prosecutorial success.
Paragraphs 776 through 779 of the report describe this
situation as follows:

-- &An examination of the framed charges in the foregoing
cases reveals that most of them were in many respects the
same. They related to the same offences and the same accused
persons. It is not clear why the office of the Attorney
General had to bring several cases against the same accused

-- &There was also a further negative effect of creating
needless delays through the chaotic situation caused by these
many cases. It has been seen for instance that charges would
be filed in 1995 only to be withdrawn in unexplained
circumstances in 1997. In other cases a charge would be
filed with some accused persons but leaving out others.
Eventually the case would also be withdrawn to consolidate it
with another one with the other accused persons.8

-- &On the face of it, this was a pointless merry go round
resulting in serious delay. In this scenario it is not
surprising to note that although the Attorney General
commenced Goldenberg related prosecutions in 1994 it was not
until 1998 that the hearing of only one case commenced. The
others as we have noted did not proceed to hearing.8

-- &The delays and the multiplicity of cases gave Mr. Pattni
and other accused persons the perfect excuse to lodge High
Court Miscellaneous Civil case No. 322 of 1999 and Court of
Appeal Civil Application No. 301 of 1999 in which they
complained that the delays and the many cases had, among
other things, prejudiced them and violated their
constitutional rights.8

8. (C) As can be seen throughout the AG,s career, it is his
ability to obfuscate and confuse while giving an appearance
of action that has so successfully stymied the prosecution of
Kenya,s many mega-scandals. It is a skill that has kept him
in office, provided him with personal rewards, and served to
damage both Kenya,s movement toward a stable democracy and
U.S. interests in that same stable democracy.

Kenya National Assembly,s Public Accounts Committee,s
report on the Anglo-Leasing scandal
9. (C) The Anglo-Leasing scandal remains, like Goldenberg,
among the most damaging and far reaching corruption cases in
Kenya,s history. In short, Anglo-Leasing was one of a
series of phantom entities used to perpetrate fraud on the
Kenyan taxpayer through non-delivery of goods and services
alongside significant overpricing. Again, the beneficiaries
appear to be a number of GOK officials, including at the most
senior levels. And again, not a single senior government
official has been successfully prosecuted for the theft of
hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars from Kenya. Once more,
the Attorney General played a key role in ensuring that
senior Kenyan officials were protected from prosecution. At
the same time, his performance as the principal legal advisor
for the Government of Kenya was questionable at best. In
fact, it appears that he and his office expended its effort
almost exclusively on providing comfort to the contractors
about the GOK,s abilities to honor contracts rather than the
other way around. Since many of the beneficiaries of these
contracts were Kenyan citizens and/or GOK officials, it is
clear that the AG was focused primarily on protecting those
in Kenya,s political and business elite at the expense of
the people and government as a whole.

10. (C) The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report speaks
directly to the role of the AG on pages 49 and 50. The
bottom line, according to the PAC, is that: (a) the AG
abdicated his responsibilities by not participating in all
stages of the procurement process, including in carrying
out/verifying due diligence; and (b) the AG felt obliged to
protect the interests of foreign investors but not those of
the government for which he is advisor. In conclusion, &the
Committee found him incapable of advising his client
adequately and a little too late to be charged with
undertaking any meaningful reforms in the Kenya Law Office.8

11. (C) Key findings of the PAC relating to the AG are as

-- &The Committee finds that whereas the provision of the
procurement regulations empower the Attorney General to
participate in all stages, he has not done so in practice.
This, in the view of the Committee is an abdication of his

-- &Secondly, the Attorney General has taken an unbalanced
and partisan view of his role in government contracts. He
feels obliged to protect the interests of the foreign
investors but not those of the government for which he is the

-- &The Attorney General in giving a legal opinion was
merely for the comfort of the financier, it is difficult to
understand why such comfort was not required by the
Government. His office misled the Committee that all the
comments suggested for inclusion in the final document had
been incorporated (Note: This is reference to one specific
Anglo-Leasing contract.). The Office of the Attorney General
had raised serious issues and misnomers in the agreement
entered into with Anglo Leasing & Finance Limited.8

-- &The Committee established that many of the comments as
forwarded by the Attorney General,s office had not been
captured in the final document yet the Attorney General,s
office approved the contract agreement. This is clearly a
case of serious negligence.8

-- &While taking evidence, the Committee was taken through a
host of reforms the Attorney General intends to undertake in
his department to ensure better results are realized by the
Government. Since the Attorney General has been in office
from 1991 to date, it is difficult to believe that he was not
aware of the weaknesses of the department for the entire
period. The Committee finds him negligent in representing
his client but keen on paper work to shield himself.8

-- &The Committee noted that the Attorney General had been
unable to exercise the functions of his office. In the
Passport Issuing Equipment Project, the Attorney General was
unable to show that he took adequate steps to ensure that the
Agreement signed was favorable to the Government.8

-- The report also details how both the Chief Magistrate and
the Attorney General,s office (responsible for the Director
of Public Prosecutions - DPP) worked to frustrate one
particular Anglo-Leasing case. The Director of Public
Prosecutions was fired just after the case began and one and
a half months later he was replaced as DPP by an individual
who was Chief Defence Counsel for one of the accused in the
Anglo-Leasing case. As a result, & . . . the Committee did
not foresee any possibility of fair prosecution , and
possible effort to pursue the matters expeditiously.8

12. (S) The conclusions of this report again demonstrate the
AG,s ongoing role in complicating, obstructing and
ultimately killing the ability of the government to prosecute
corruption. The AG is seen by his own colleagues as
continuing to protect their interests. In ref b report from
2009, it is clear that prominent members of the cabinet
believe that the AG successfully thwarted Anglo-Leasing
prosecution and that he received direct payment for his work.

KACC ) Status of the Investigation of Security Related

13. (C) In a June 2006 document, the Kenya Anti-Corruption
Commission (KACC) provided President Kibaki with an update on
the Anglo-Leasing investigations, including providing
information on key players and their involvement. The
section on the AG is as follows:

-- &Other than taking the responsibility for the review of
the contracts by his office that facilitated the perpetration
of the frauds by contracting ministries, he also gave his
personal opinion in a number of financing contracts in which
he purported to validate the use of promissory notes without
consultations with Treasury as to the nature of the risk. It
is understood that even as he approved the use of promissory
notes, the Government was paying heavily for a contract in
which promissory notes had been discounted to a third party
by the supplier who never delivered as per his contract and
the Government had to pay the non-delivery notwithstanding.
His legal opinions further make reference to CAP 422
(External Loans and Credit Act) and are categorical that the
said piece of legislation has been complied with when in
actual fact it had been violated. The Honourable Attorney
General gave that opinion without conferring with Treasury to
verify whether or not they had complied with the Act. These
legal opinions are given without any due diligence being
undertaken to confirm that all laws and regulations have been
adhered to, suppliers and financiers have been vetted, status
of registration confirmed and their capacity to contract also
confirmed. There is a possibility of prosecution.8

-- Listing the &Challenges to the Investigations,8 the KACC
told the President that one of those challenges was: &(c)
investigating the complicity of a sitting Attorney General
who would have to prosecute cases.8

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights ) UN Special
Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary or Summary Executions
Mission to Kenya; 16-25 February 2009

14. (C) This report and the information that follows from the
Waki report (see below) goes directly again to AG Wako,s
involvement in public official corruption through
interference in public processes. The UN,s Special
Rapporteur said:

-- &In my final report, I will explain in detail the
shortcomings of the two key component parts of the criminal
justice system apart from the police. They are the Office of
the Attorney General and the judiciary.8

-- &The exchange, reproduced in full in the Waki Commission
report, between Justice Waki and Attorney-General Amos Wako,
provides a vivid illustration of the latter,s role as the
chief obstacle to prosecuting anyone in authority for
extrajudicial executions. He has presided for a great many
years over a system that is clearly bankrupt in relation to
dealing with police killings and has done nothing to ensure
that the system is reformed.8

-- &Public statements lamenting the system,s shortcomings
have been utterly unsupported by any real action. In brief,
Mr. Wako is the embodiment in Kenya of the phenomenon of

Report of the Commission to Investigate Post-Election Violence

15. (C) This Commission, commonly known as the Waki
Commission, investigated the violence perpetrated on the
Kenyan people in the aftermath of the December 2007
elections. The AG appeared before the Commission and
discussed the lack of prosecution in the aftermath of
political violence following multiple Kenyan elections
including the 2007 poll. Concluding their discussion of AG
Wako in the report, the Commission wrote:

-- &In view of the lack of any visible prosecution against
perpetrators of politically related violence, the perception
has pervaded for some time now that the Attorney-General
cannot act effectively or at all to deal with such
perpetrators and this, in our view, has promoted the sense of
impunity and emboldened those who peddle their trade of
violence during the election periods, to continue doing so.8

16. (C) Seen here and elsewhere in this submission, one can
find an Attorney General who has successfully maintained an
almost perfect record of non-prosecution. He accomplishes
this through the most complex of smoke and mirrors tactics,
seeking to appear to desire prosecution while all along doing
his utmost to protect the political elites. His reward, as
noted in ref b, is monetary as well as his unprecedented
tenure in office ) a sinecure if there ever was one. It
should be noted that in 2009 the Attorney General,s salary
was increased from an already healthy $6,900 per month to an
obscene $22,000 per month -- an even greater reward for an
individual who has spared many of those responsible for
Kenya,s high level of corruption.

Serious Effect on U.S. National Interests

17. (C) Attorney General Amos Wako,s 18 years of involvement
in public corruption through interference with judicial and
other public processes have had serious adverse effects on
those U.S. interests specified in Proclamation 7750 as well
as U.S. foreign policy priorities of promoting democracy and
good governance and sustainable economic development.
Overarching all U.S. interests in Kenya is the need for the
GOK to implement the reform agenda agreed to by all major
political parties in the aftermath of the 2008 post-election
violence. This agenda -- which focuses on accountability for
the violence and preventing corruption through constitutional
revision, electoral, judicial, police and land reform, is
essential to democratic success, economic prosperity,
stability and security in Kenya. As made clear by Secretary
Clinton during her August 2009 visit to Kenya, pressing for
implementation of the reform agenda and dismantling Kenya,s
culture of impunity is at the core of U.S. policy. Without
significant progress on the reform agenda, including
significant curbs on corruption, Kenya will almost certainly
repeat (or surpass)the election-related violence ahead
of/during/after 2012 elections. By obstructing due process
and committing corrupt acts, Wako has repeatedly demonstrated
that he is an obstacle to reform in Kenya and a major
contributor to the country,s culture of impunity. As a
result, he is pillar standing against vital U.S. interests in

18. (C) Stability of Democratic Institutions and Nations: AG
Wako,s efforts to ensure that those most responsible for
grand scale corruption and election violence in Kenya are not
punished has made it possible for both to continue to
flourish thereby undermining the rule of law, judicial and
law enforcement institutions. At the same time, the lack of
accountability for previous Kenyan political violence
resulted in the worst episode of election-related violence in
Kenya,s history as an independent nation ) over 1000 dead
and more than 350,000 displaced with not a single case
brought against any perpetrator of violence despite extensive
documentary evidence. In the aftermath of the post-election
violence, Mr. Wako,s obstruction in both the Goldenberg and
Anglo-Leasing scandals means that many of those suspected of
stealing massively from the country,s treasury have remained
not only unpunished but on the job as Ministers of Government
to this day. His protection has ensured that they continue
to be in position to steal funds to support election
campaigns, and incite/support violence. At the same time, it
is clear to all Kenyans that participating in public
corruption, especially if you are among the political elite,
does in fact pay. There is little, if any threat of
punishment. The corrosive nature of this culture of impunity
has: directly undermined the ability of the Kenyan economy to
grow at levels required to move the population to middle
income status; built a permanent level of disregard for the
rule of law and the institutions that are meant to enforce
those laws; and reinforced a system whereby the government
does not serve its population, but rather further
marginalizes the population while enriching those in power.
The bottom line is that the Kenyan state is weaker and less
able to enhance the lives of its population and maintain the
security of the country,s already porous and dangerous
border areas.
19. (C) U.S. Foreign Assistance Goals: According to
Transparency International, the Goldenberg scam alone
directly cost the Kenyan taxpayers an estimated $500 million.
Anglo-Leasing as well cost(and may still be costing due to
ongoing payments) the Kenyan government and people hundreds
of millions of dollars. Under AG Wako the return of even a
fraction of these funds, which could be possible with a
vigorous prosecution, could bring significant benefits to an
economy the size of Wyoming. The election violence, which
might have been prevented, pushed GDP in the first quarter of
2008 into negative territory and forced the country to
attempt an economic rebound in the midst of the worst global
recession since the 1930,s. The same violence resulted in
the loss of crops and halted planting such that, combined
with the current drought, approximately 10 million Kenyans
(nearly 25 percent of the population) are food insecure. With
an action-oriented AG, not busy protecting political elites
in return for rewards, previous political violence may have
been punished, mitigating what took place after the 2007
elections. Because the scale of the Goldenberg and
Anglo-Leasing scams were so massive, it directly caused
destabilization of the Kenyan economy, damaged the investment
climate and, eventually, resulted in the suspension of the
IMF and World Bank programs in Kenya, thereby negatively
affecting U.S. foreign assistance goals.

20. (C) Former Kenyan Economic Secretary Terry Ryan testified
before the judicial commission investigating Goldenberg that
the Central Bank of Kenya printed billions of shillings on
the premise that exporters would bring in foreign currency
and stabilize the exchange rate. When those exports proved
fraudulent, the Kenyan shilling sharply depreciated. Ryan
told the inquiry that the impact of the Goldenberg scam would
continue to haunt the Kenyan economy for another two decades.
For example, according to witnesses in the Goldenberg
inquiry, although it took 10 years for Kenya's money supply
to grow from 20 billion Ksh in 1980 to 50 billion Ksh in
1990, the money supply soared to 100 billion Ksh by January
1993, sparking rampant inflation and the devaluation of the
Kenya shilling from an average of 24.08 Ksh to one USD in
1990 to 68.16 in 1993. Staple maize and bean prices rose by
334 percent and 233 percent over the same period. Government
borrowing from commercial banks grew by more than 400
percent. If the Attorney General had not been so clearly
acting on behalf of those suspected of corruption,
prosecution of Goldenberg suspects might have not only
resulted in some kind of return of funds but it may have
prevented the equally damaging Anglo-Leasing scandal.

21. (C) International Activity of U.S. Businesses: In his 18
years in office, Attorney General Wako has institutionalized
the culture of impunity that is rife in Kenya. Under his
leadership, the Attorney General,s office routinely ensures
that cases of corruption are not filed, are withdrawn or are
made so complex that they are simply dropped. In 18 years,
not a single, senior GOK official has been successfully
prosecuted for corruption in a country that is consistently
rated amongst the most corrupt in the world. That is a
remarkable record, given that at least two scandals (and
there have been more) that resulted in losses to Kenya of
several hundred million dollars each. That level of impunity
only encourages greater and greater corruption throughout
Kenya at all levels. The resulting corruption has a direct
impact on U.S. business attempting to operate in Kenya from
the police roadblocks set up along major transport routes, to
moving goods to/from the Port of Mombasa, to fighting
counterfeit products that are undermining American
manufacturers based here, to simply being able to operate on
a day-to-day basis with bribe-seeking local and regional
officials. The AG,s corruption ) protecting the most
corrupt from accountability ) ensures that U.S. businesses
struggle in Kenya.

In Summary

22. (C) Attorney General Amos Wako is at the center of the
corruption problem in Kenya. Post strongly believes Mr. Amos
Wako has engaged in and benefited from public corruption in
his capacity as Attorney General for the past 18 years by
interference with judicial and other public processes. The
record from the reports detailed in the paragraphs above
demonstrate a clear pattern of ensuring that the justice
system works to protect those involved most in stealing
public funds from the general population. The reports show
that the Attorney General was &negligent,8 showed a
&reluctance to proceed,8 &extreme lethargy,8 created
&needless delays,8 engaged in an &abdication of
responsibilities,8 and was paid for his trouble (ref b).
Finally, one report summed it up by accurately describing the
AG as the &embodiment in Kenya of the phenomenon of
impunity.8 Each of these reports has also demonstrated how
funds lost to the GOK are often diverted not only for the
personal gain of senior officials but also to influence the
results of Kenyan elections. In addition, the AG,s
unwillingness to hold accountable those involved in election
violence over the years led in part to the single worst
episode of conflict and death in Kenya since independence in
2008. For these reasons, Post believes that Mr. Amos Wako is
the major obstacle to ending the culture of impunity in Kenya
and recommends that he be made ineligible under Presidential
Proclamation 7750.

Additional Information Required For Finding

23. (C) Mr. Amos Wako has not been informed of the fact that
he may be ineligible for a U.S. visa under section 212(f) of
the INA and Proclamation 7750.

24. (C) Wako currently holds an A-1 visa, issued September
27, 2005 and expiring September 27, 2010.

25. (C) Wako has traveled to the U.S. seven times since 2003.
The port of entry for all visits was New York. All of his
visas have been G2 or A1. Wako last departed the U.S. in
December 2008. He currently uses a diplomatic Kenyan
passport, number D009450. He is married to Flora Ngaira (we
have no record of her having received a U.S. visa) and has
two children, Julius and Debora. We have no record of Debora
having received a visa. The son, Julius Wako, (DPOB: June
26, 1974, Nairobi, Kenya) was issued one visa, a B1/B2, that
expired on August 19, 2008. He has a regular Kenyan
passport, A1086975.

26. (C) Because of the serious wide-reaching nature of Mr.
Amos Wako,s corruption, Post recommends that Mr. Amos Wako
be excluded for travel to the U.S. under section 212(f) of
the INA and that no exception be granted.