Now Kalonzo quizzed over Armenians
Story by BERNARD NAMUNANE
Publication Date: 3/16/2006
Former Cabinet minister Kalonzo Musyoka yesterday said the two Armenians at the centre of the mercenary row wanted him to introduce them to Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila.
And Mr Musyoka named Nairobi businessman Raju Sanghani as the person who introduced him to the two foreigners who Lang'ata MP Raila Odinga claims are mercenaries.
The top Orange Democratic Movement leader was giving details of what he knows about Mr Artur Sargsyan and Mr Artur Margaryan in a statement he recorded at Kilimani police station.
Mr Musyoka, who arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport from Addis Ababa at 2.40 pm, went straight to the Kilimani CID offices following a Government order that he records a statement.
He declined to speak to journalists at the airport and said he was wanted by the police. "I have been informed that the police are after me. I am going straight to Kilimani police station," Mr Musyoka, who was flanked by Mutito MP Kiema Kilonzo, said.
Mr Musyoka emerged from a one-and-a-half hour session with the CID officer tasked to investigate the mercenaries allegations, Mr Isaiah Osugo, to state that he has never requested for funding from the two Armenians.
He said Mr Sanghani introduced the two foreigners, whom he described as "flamboyantly endowed in gold chains, rings, bracelets and watches" at the Grand Regency's Summit Club in late November last year.
"Whilst at the club, businessman Raju Sanghani walked over to where I was seated accompanied by two persons who were casually dressed and introduced them as businessmen from Dubai," Mr Musyoka said.
Mr Sanghani is the former owner of Guilders International Bank, chairman of Real Motors Group and an estate management firm.
During the 10-minute encounter, Mr Musyoka said one of the two foreigners introduced himself as a relative of the Armenian President and that he had set his eyes on a top political seat in his country.
In apparent reference to Mr Sargsyan, he said the Armenian told him of his business interests in DR Congo and inquired if Mr Musyoka could use his influence as a former Foreign minister to introduce him to President Kabila.
"I informed them that I knew President Kabila but was not well-acquainted with him. That was the end of our discussion," narrated the Mwingi North MP.
Contacted last evening, Mr Sanghani confirmed he had introduced Mr Musyoka to the two men in an "accidental" meeting.
He said the two were associates of a Dubai businessman, Mr Zakher Omar, a friend he had met in Mumbai, India, last year. Mr Omar deals in general commodities, steel rolling and real estate development in Dubai and India.
"He and l met accidentally at the hotel l was staying in and we got talking. I tried to interest him in investing in Kenya especially in real estate..."
"Sometime in November he came with two people he introduced as Arthur and James. He claimed they were members of the "royal" family in Armenia," Mr Sanghani said in a telephone interview.
He said that one evening during the three or four days which Mr Omar and his associates spent in the country, he took them to the Summit Club in the Grand Regency where they met Mr Musyoka.
"It was a casual, accidental meeting. I introduced them and told Mr Musyoka that they were members of the Armenian "royal" family. Indeed, l told him that one of the men was a presidential aspirant. I also told him that the men were interested in investing in gold and diamonds in the Democratic Republic of Congo," Mr Sanghani said.
The conversation lasted a few minutes after which one of the Armenians requested that Mr Musyoka pose for a photograph with them.
Mr Sanghani said he visited Dubai later that month on his way to London. "They welcomed me and took me round the place. When l returned to Kenya sometime in December, they were also here," he said.
During one of their outings, the "accidentally" ran into Mr Musyoka at the Serena Hotel. They chatted about the business and the MP asked them about vehicle importations "which is one of the ventures they were into", Mr Sanghani said.
On Monday, Mr Sargsyan told journalists at JKIA that he and his brother were introduced to Mr Musyoka and Mr Raila Odinga by an Asian businessman at the Grand Regency hotel.
It was during the meeting, the Armenians claimed, that Mr Musyoka made a request for Sh3 billion to fund a vote of no-confidence in the Government, a request they declined.
Instead, Mr Sargsyan said, they agreed to a request by Mr Odinga to lend him $1.5 million (about Sh108 million).
But yesterday, Mr Musyoka, a former Environment minister, said Mr Odinga was not in the picture. Instead, he said he was accompanied by Nairobi businessman Kennedy Ngumbau.
The MP, who was flanked by ODM Members of Parliament Mutula Kilonzo, Gideon Moi, Nick Salat, Daudi Mwanzia and Sammy Weya, described the Armenians as "dangerous" people.
"They are people who are absolutely dangerous to Kenyans and the Government must ensure the security and safety of ODM leaders," he said.
Mr Musyoka claimed that the move by the two to take a photo with him at the hotel came to haunt him three weeks ago after the raid at the Standard and Kenya Television Network offices.
"It occurred to me after the attack on KTN and the Standard newspapers in which the said persons were alleged to have been involved, that the intention of having a photograph with me was for the purpose of identification and possible elimination."
Mr Musyoka becomes the second ODM leader, after Mr Odinga, to record a statement with the police over the mercenary saga. The Lang'ata MP recorded a statement at Kilimani police station on Monday.
ODM leaders have claimed that the presence of Mr Sargsyan and Mr Margaryan in the country was known to people at high levels in Government. They have also claimed that the foreigners were being given State protection.
But Environment minister Kivutha Kibwana has warned that Mr Odinga risks being taken to court over the claims of mercenaries in the country.
MPs visit mercenary claim house as
Story by PATRICK NZIOKA
Publication Date: 3/16/2006
Two Nairobi MPs yesterday visited the house occupied by one of the Armenian brothers at the centre of mercenary claims.
The visit came even as information emerged that the two men were most likely, not brothers or Armenians as they had claimed during their press conference at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport's VIP lounge on Monday.
The new information alleged that the two men could be Czech nationals.
Contacted, the Czech embassy in Nairobi said it could not confirm or deny the reports.
The embassy consular Mr Otov Weniger said in a telephone interview that they did not have information on the two men.
"We will have to see their passports to know whether they are our nationals or not," he said.
He said although it was possible to forge passports, he could only comment after seeing them.
The visit to the Runda house was led by Westlands MP Fred Gumo, in whose constituency the house in Runda estate stands. He was accompanied by his Makadara constituency counterpart, Mr Reuben Ndolo.
However, the two MPs did not enter the compound after the gardener declined to open the gate.
One of the two men who have rented the house, Mr Artur Margaryan, had earlier been driven out by his lady companion in a dark blue car.
As has now become usual, the number plates of the car were covered.
Journalists rushed to the Nairobi area police headquarters after word went round that Mr Margaryan was going to record a statement.
They left when it became apparent that Mr Margaryan would not be arriving.
Back at the house, on getting no response to their persistent knocking at the gate, the two MPs shouted in turns to the gardener, who did not answer.
Mr Gumo: You! Do not panic, I am your MP. Open the gate, you have nothing to fear; this is your country.
Mr Ndolo: Who are you and where are your white bosses?...young man, come and talk to your MPs.
Mr Gumo: Ask your bosses to come out and beat us just like they did to the police officer.
At this point, Mr Gumo received a call, which he answered saying he was at the house. "There is a big crowd here."
Mr Gumo called on Mr Margaryan to come out openly and state what kind of business he was in.
He said it was unusual for anybody to be allowed the use of GK cars, which are not insured.
Mr Gumo and Mr Ndolo gave the Government a seven-day ultimatum to come clean on the identity of the occupants of the house and the nature of their business or else they would mobilise more than 1,000 youths to storm the house and flush out its occupants, whom they termed a security threat.
The MPs, who arrived in two white Land Rovers with more than 20 men in tow, attracted a huge crowd of onlookers, mostly construction workers.
A GK car that was approaching the house reversed and turned back when the crowd started shouting on seeing it.
Mr Gumo claimed people in the estate had complained that their security was being compromised by the presence of alleged mercenaries in the area.
In the compound two cars – a cream Subaru and a Mercedez Benz – could be seen. The windscreen of the Subaru, whose number plates were covered, did not have any stickers, which made the MPs conclude that the two cars were GK vehicles.
Mr Ndolo asked a minister who lives in the neighbourhood to state whether he knew anything about the goings-on near his house.