He has allegedly been involved and questioned over a litany of multibillion shady contracts that three successive governments have inherited involving controversial Anglo Leasing contracts as one of the profiled key architects of scandalous deals that the Kenyan government is still paying close to two decades now.
He comes from a wealthy and well-connected family; the ‘Kamani’s’ which is said to have enjoyed the patronage of senior figures in the previous government and controls a chain of business in multiple countries.
Deepak Kamani has been on the radar of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) for over a decade as one of the faces behind the infamous Anglo Leasing contracts that was later to evolve into a Sh62 billion scandal entailing 18 dodgy projects.
Kamani’s family was allegedly involved right at the centre of one of the biggest defence and security contractors and has been sporadically in the news over the past 10 years in connection with controversial projects.
Investigations have thrown up links to the E-cop project, the tamper‐proof passports, forensic laboratory, vehicles for the Office of the President, among a host of others, totaling billions of shillings in value.
With the government under pressure to act on suspects of Anglo Leasing and in the wake of hefty payments to overseas companies which were contracted, Kamani’s file at the anti-corruption agency was said to be the most loaded with evidence if a case is to be opened on suspected perpetrators.
In 2014, after a four hour interrogation, Kamani was scheduled to travel to Mauritius for his daughter’s wedding and was allowed by Eacc after he “fully cooperated” with them.
In March 2014 year, Court of Appeal allowed EACC to probe Kamani’s alleged input in the multi-billion shilling Anglo-Leasing scam.
Effectively, the ruling by a three-judge bench of the Court of Appeal unanimously overturned a High Court ruling that barred EACC from interrogating passports Kamani and his brother Rashmi Kamani.
In 2006 EACC initiated an investigation into allegations of corruption and economic crimes involving procurement of security projects between the government and some companies including Anglo-Leasing and Finance Company Ltd.
According to media reports at the time, the Kamani-associated companies may have had US$160 million (Sh13.6 billion) in accounts in Geneva with HSBC, Schroders, UBS and Pictet.
In 2009, US national Bradley Birkenfeld was sentenced to 40 months for helping clients hide their money in a multi-billion dollar international tax fraud over Swiss private banking. Bradley was linked with brothers Deepak and Rashmi, who controlled 13 of the Anglo Leasing companies whose accounts Bradley managed when he worked for UBS.
At the height of the saga generated by Githongo, which saw former ministers David Mwiraria and Kiraitu Murungi ‘step aside’ in February 2006, and some top officials taken to court, the then Narc government had claimed US$4.7 million for the CID forensic laboratory was wired back on June 7, 2004 while another Euro 5.2 million was reportedly paid back in respect of the E-cop project, which involved computerisation of the police force and the installation of spy cameras in Nairobi by Infotalent Systems Private Limited.
The Kamani family is one of the wealthiest and most private in Kenya.
In a declaration to the Securities and Exchange Board of India in 2003, Kamani declared his wealth as Sh96,280,200. His elder and richer son, Rashmi C Kamani, gave his fortune as Sh792,314,000 and the younger and better known son, Deepak C Kamani, as Sh373,596,000.
Reports indicate they have invested particularly heavily in India, including a chain of 10 luxury business hotels. They have also invested in Dubai, primarily in Business Towers.
Their businesses in India go back to 1984 and perhaps beyond, when their Rajath Finance Ltd was registered, but is after 1997 that the pace of investment seems to have picked up.
According to records at the Registrar of Companies, Kamsons a motor firm that sold a fleet of low technology India-manufactured Mahindra four‐wheel drive vehicles to Kenya Police in 1993 was registered in 1975 and issued with certificate of registration number 13747.
The family has been linked to a slate of scandals including Anglo Leasing, the supply of allegedly overpriced Mahindra jeeps to the Kenya police, and the sale of dysfunctional radar equipment to the Kenyan air traffic control.
Ms Sundha Ruparrel, Deepaks sister, was a director of a company at the address given by Anglo Leasing in its passports contract.
Her late husband, was a director of Hallmark International which supplied the Mahindra jeeps to the police.
The elder son Rashmi and Priscilla Rashmi Kamani,were among directors of a company which in 2000 occupied an address in London which Anglo Leasing gave as its office in the forensic contract.
And the Kamanis gave Infotalent Systems Private Ltd as one of their companies in their application to buy the public out of Rajath Finance in 2003.
The deals revolve around Hampden Investments Ltd of Gibraltar, LBA Systems Ltd of Scotland, Apex Finance Corporation of Geneva, Switzerland, and Sound Day Corporation of the UK.
One such deal started as a US $24.9million (Sh 1.9billion) contract in October 1997 and its scope involved supply and installation of a dedicated digital telecommunications security network for the Prisons Department
Just like the passports deal, all the projects under scrutiny by EACC have similarities in terms of project conception, the secretive nature of the projects under the cloak of security procurement, the involvement of dubious foreign registered corporations.
Today, a former deputy solicitor-general Dorcas Achapa has defended the Government’s decision to sign the multi-billion-shilling Anglo Leasing contracts.
She has testified that after going through the contract documents between the Government and Sound Day Limited, she was convinced there was no conspiracy, sinister motive or anything unusual that would have made the office of the Attorney General to stop the contract.
“There was nothing unusual in the Anglo Leasing contracts. I went through the contract documents and it was my legal opinion that it was good. The AG also gave his legal opinion which validated the contract and any action taken to pay was within the law,” said Achapa, who at the time of the controversial contract in 2003 was the deputy solicitor-general at the AG’s chambers.
She said that there was nothing wrong in the Government paying three per cent commitment fees to the companies as the law required they do so before the contract is executed.
She added that she had previously dealt with other contracts for police projects, and that the Anglo Leasing project to modernise police operations was not different.
“It was our practice to check the requirements and offer our legal opinion. We found there was nothing wrong on special authorisation given to the Permanent Secretary in charge of Finance to sign the documents on behalf of the minister,” said Achapa.