Mugabe got robe from Kenyan 'fraudster'
Cape Town - Kenyan businessman Paul Kamlesh Pattni, who gave Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe a royal robe which reportedly once belonged to slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, is linked to an $850m fraud case that almost ground the East African nation to a halt in the 1990s, Kenyan Embassy sources have disclosed, according to Daily News.
The money equivalent to 5% of Kenya’s gross domestic product at the time was looted from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), in what became known as the Goldenberg Scandal during former president Daniel arap Mois tenure.
According to the report, Pattni is now facing a litany of charges and of exploiting a scheme designed to revitalise Kenya's faltering economy in the 1990s. The matter will go to trial on April 16.
Head of chancery at the Kenyan embassy in Harare, Peter Nairimo, said the embassy was not aware of Pattni's private visit to Zimbabwe early this month.
"We saw in the newspapers that he [Pattni] came here. He didn't come to the embassy. We were not notified of his visit and we didn't know he came here, but let me investigate what you say. I will call you," Nairimo said.
But other embassy officials who declined to be named for fear of reprisal, claimed Pattni, a Kenyan-Indian businessman, had several corruption charges hanging over his head. The officials disputed Pattni's claims he represented Kenya’s traditional leaders.
Zimbabwe's president of the Chiefs Council Fortune Charumbira, however, defended Pattni insisting he had visited in his official capacity as a representative of Kenya's traditional chiefs.
"It is not the first time Pattni has come to Zimbabwe as he was here before. We are not legally allowed to comment on what you are saying about him [the alleged criminal record], I don't have that information.
"And that is politics now, all we know is that he came here as the representative of the Kenyan Chiefs Council."
Pattni was introduced to Mugabe at the chiefs annual conference in Bulawayo as national chairperson of the House of Traditional Elders in Kenya. Immediately afterwards, Pattni presented the gown, hugged and anointed Mugabe Chief of Africa after Gaddafi.
I got the gown from Gaddafi before he died. So after his death Mugabe is the only African leader who deserves to have it. As elders of Africa, we are now looking upon Mugabe to lead us, said Pattni in an interview after presenting the gown.