From the Kenya Times, this entertaining passage:
After a long silence, Artur Margaryan, now says he has brought to his residence more dogs and crocodiles to beef up his security. This is in addition to the ten dogs he had imported earlier. Westlands legislator Fred Gumo and his Makadara counterpart Reuben Ndolo should probably be warned not to take their threats to storm his residence, lest they be devoured by the crocodiles.
There's something reminiscent of The Old Lady Who Swallowed the Fly here. I've been wondering where this story is going. Perhaps it will end with the the Arturs being eaten by their, er, security forces.
(Who is cleaning up after all the animals, anyway? They have how many killer dogs? Wonder how it smells in there.)
I remain really interested in finding out who these guys are and where they came from.
On a more somber note, while these clowns hole up with large but untraceable amounts of cash, famine spreads across East Africa. And meanwhile Kenya is also having an outbreak of measles because of lack of vaccinations.
See also my previous posts:
- Insitutionalizing the Kenya Media Raid: A proposed bill to turn the current self-regulated Media Council of Kenya into a statutory media council, "essentially becoming a censorship body."
- Kenya: More on the Mysterious Armenian Brothers
- Kenya: "He was accompanied by a woman who on Monday he claimed was his bodyguard."
Below the cut is an abundance of related links along with what I thought was the best line from each.
Kenya: "Investors of a very, very strange kind"
- allAfrica.com: Kenya: New Riddle As Akashas Now Disown Armenian Connection
Mr Sargasyan declared at a press conference last week that they were related to the Armenian Prime Minister and that he was also running for President. But sources within the Armenia government said the two did not have permanent residence in that country and thus did not qualify to run for office. The office of the Armenian Prime Minister denied that the duo is related to the leader, Mr Andranik Markaryan. The Armenian Prime Minister's Press secretary, Mery Haroutyan, said the Prime Minister did not have any relatives by the names Artur Margaryan and Artur Sargasyan.
- allAfrica.com: Kenya: Michuki: Armenians Not in Raid
Internal Security minister John Michuki told the committee on Legal Affairs and Administration of Justice that the police team that raided the Standard and KTN offices was made up of Kenyans only.
- allAfrica.com: Kenya: Michuki Wants Raila Charged
The Government plans to take to task Lang'ata MP Raila Odinga over his claims that there were mercenaries in the country. One of the options being considered is to arrest him for giving false information to the police on the alleged presence of hitmen. Mr Odinga could also be prosecuted for claiming that two Armenians who are in the country were mercenaries. Internal Security minister John Michuki told a group of Government of National Unity MPs that the Government did not take lightly accusations by the Liberal Democratic Party leader. . . . A number of MPs are said to have been uncomfortable with the action suggested by the minister, arguing it was not the best way to handle the matter. Some of them even agreed with Mr Odinga's view that the two controversial Armenians - Artur Sargsyan and Artur Margaryan - were not engaged in genuine business . . .
- allAfrica.com: Kenya: Michuki Questioned As 'Armenian' Plot Thickens
Michuki further claimed that the Group intended to publish a series of stories linking key government officials to the Al-Qaeda terrorist group, sources close to the Committee said. "It was a government action. The Standard Group has a propaganda unit which wanted to run stories that key government officials have Al-Qaeda links," a source close to the committee said of Michuki.
- allAfrica.com: Kenya: Kaparo Says No to E-Mail Testimony
Speaker Francis ole Kaparo rejected e-mail evidence from Lang'ata MP Raila Odinga that foreigners Artur Margaryan and Artur Sargsyan had a criminal record.
- allAfrica.com: Kenya: Kaparo Says No to E-Mail Testimony
- allAfrica.com: Kenya: Journalists to Push for Adoption of Media Bill
Mr Mutua said failure by the media to support the Bill would lead to enactment of an alternative draconian law.
- allAfrica.com: Kenya: I Was Misquoted, Armenian Now Claims
One of the two men at the centre of mercenary saga, has denied claims that he told off Internal Security minister John Michuki.
- allAfrica.com: Kenya: Armenians: PS in Trouble At State House
Last week, The Standard exclusively revealed that Sargasyan and Margaryan own a company with the daughter of Narc activist Mary Wambui. Ms Winfred Wangui Mwai is listed as one of the five shareholders of Kesington Holding Limited alongside Margaryan and Sargsyan.
- allAfrica.com: Kenya: Armenian Used My Vehicle, Says Akasha
Mr Baktash Akasha said the Armenian used his blue Mercedes Benz registration number, KAH 980M, in October last year. In a telephone interview, Baktash, however, distanced himself from the Armenians saga, saying Mr Raju Sanghani, a businessman, gave his vehicle to Margaryan. . . . Meanwhile, Margaryan on Sunday admitted that he knew the Akasha family. He said one of the daughters of the late drug baron Ibrahim Akasha is married to one of the managers of his business empire in Dubai.
- allAfrica.com: Kenya: 26 Groups Vow to Fight Deregistration of NGOs
Twenty-six civil society organisations have censured the Government over threats to deregister four non-governmental organisations for allegedly being a threat to national security.
- allAfrica.com: Kenya: 'Opposition MPs Wanted Cash for Referendum Campaigns'
Margargran, interjected: "Your country's budget is not enough for the country. It is not enough to hire us."
- allAfrica.com: Kenya: 'Armenian' Takes On Security Minister
Foreigner Artur Margaryan yesterday told Internal Security Minister John Michuki to stop commenting on their issue until investigations are complete. . . . He also cautioned Michuki against commenting on issues "he knows nothing about".
- allAfrica.com: Kenya [opinion]: Legal Week: Who is in Charge of the Police Force?
The confirmation by the commissioner of police that he was not aware of the raids conducted by his force on the Standard Media Group demonstrates the reality of how hollow the power enjoyed by the commissioner is.
- allAfrica.com: Kenya [editorial]: Please, Get This Man Out of Here Soonest
What sticks in the craw is that Michuki is just the latest in Artur Margaryan's line of fire. Wearing his arrogance and disdain proudly and loudly this man seems bent on belittling every prominent Kenyan he comes across.
- allAfrica.com: Kenya [column]: Mamluks': the Ancient Term for Mercenaries
As a result of the ongoing mercenary saga, one of the hottest new words in the Swahili vocabulary of most Kenyans is Mamluki.
- allAfrica.com: Kenya [column]: Keep Your Eyes On the Target
As for the two aliens from no-man's land, they and their wacky dogs should be cast off our territory with the contempt they deserve for disturbing our peace and insulting our sovereignty.
- allAfrica.com: Kenya [column]: Government Left With a Bloody Nose From the Mercenary Saga
The Armenians, Artur Margaryan and Artur Sargasyan, simply did not look credible as the harmless investors they claimed to be. And their tale about the Sh108 million seemed too outlandish to be true. . . . What is unfolding goes a long way to prove the level of bankruptcy of ideas within Government," claims Kanu secretary-general William Ruto.
- allAfrica.com: Kenya [column]: A Season of Political Propaganda
In an unprecedented move in the annals of independent Kenya, hooded security officials - and suspected mercenaries - descended on the Standard Group with vengeful destruction. . . . Questions were asked about these men considering that no men of Caucasian origin are known to be in the police force. . . . Their gait and fashion - though expensive, was unbusiness-like. . . . one of the most intriguing questions still remains unanswered: Who exactly are the Artur 'brothers'?
- allAfrica.com: Kenya [analysis]: Second Impression - Nothing New About These Armenians (Page 1 of 2)
Asked why his vicious dobberman bit a CID officer, he retorted: "Ask the dog!"
- US Dept of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2005: Kenya
- Sunday Times Newspaper: Who is fooling who in this Armenian ‘mercenaries' tragic-comedy goof?
In fact it may be more accurate to say President Kibaki has been very unlucky since he assumed power in Kenya three years ago. Everything that needed to go wrong went wrong, and they followed in quick succession. May be this string of back luck is a pointer to the fact that the gods are not happy with Mwai Kibaki.
- Sunday Times Newspaper: Ngilu in plea over Armenian brothers
HEALTH Minister Charity Ngilu yesterday asked the government not to deport the two Armenians at the centre of the mercenaries row before Kenyans knew their true identity and motive. Ngilu who is the Kitui Central MP said the duo should remain in the country so that Kenyans can get to the bottom of the truth.
- Sunday Times Newspaper: Game of musical chairs in Armenians saga
So, where is the beauty of these two Armenians? Cash- and that is it.
- Reuters.co.za: Kenyan president in trouble as parliament reopens
Kibaki's attempt to win breathing space has backfired and he is now beset by a string of problems including two huge corruption scandals, a blundering raid on the media, and a worsening east African drought.
- Reuters AlertNet - Kenya crime rivals corruption as threat to investors
A United Nations study last year said crime was a key factor in preventing countries across Africa from rising out of poverty. It listed the high proportion of young, unemployed people, glaring income inequalities and rapid urbanisation as reasons for high levels of violent crime.
- News | Im still in town, says Armenian
Artur Margaryan called The Standard Newsroom on Wednesday to say he was still in the country.
- Nationmedia.com | Sunday Nation: Armenians in fresh dispute over company
A Nairobi businessman has written to the Registrar of Societies protesting that a company allegedly owned by the two Armenian men at the centre of the mercenary saga is using a name identical to that used by his firm.
- Nationmedia.com | Daily Nation: What are these fellows doing here?
Throw suspect drug-dealers into the mix and the inescapable conclusion will be that we are not just being ruled by snakes, but by criminal cartels who have no qualms about getting cosy with the scum of the earth as long as they acquire power and wealth. . . . Then you have one Artur Margaryan strutting all over the place. Every time he opens his mouth, the Government might as well surrender and confess that all the accusations being bandied around are true.
- Nationmedia.com | Daily Nation: MEMO - Investors of a very, very strange kind
Two brothers from the Trans-Caucasian republic of Armenia are believed to be the only significant foreign investors Narc has so far managed to attract.
- Nationmedia.com | Daily Nation: Armenians' presence to be explained
The Government is tomorrow expected to explain the presence of two foreigners in the country at the centre of mercenary claims. A query on the presence of the foreigners could not be answered yesterday owing to confusion on which ministry would provide the explanation.
- Money laundering Patterns in Kenya - Profiling Money Laundering in Eastern and Southern Africa - Monograph No 90 December 2003
The Corruption Perception Index published by Transparency International in 1996 ranked Kenya third from the bottom in the (ascending) list of the most corrupt countries in the world. Only Pakistan and Nigeria were perceived to be more corrupt than Kenya. In 1998 Kenya ranked 78th out of the 85 countries surveyed; in 1999, it was 90th out of 99; in 2000, it was 82nd out of 90; and in 2001, out of 91 countries, Kenya ranked 84th.
- Lift secrecy lid off the mysterious Armenian duo
- Kenya needs a Freedom of Information Act now
The point is that it is futile for the Government to sit on information while attacking the media for not pandering to its whims. The onus is on President Kibaki to make good his promise of a Freedom of Information Act during last year’s International Press Institute summit in Nairobi.
- Kenya Times: The Arturs have cheapened Kenya’s integrity
When the Artur brothers say they can fund our national Budget, there is more to read from it than thinking that they are just being arrogant.
- Kenya Times: MPs say debate on graft, Constitution to top agenda
Saboti MP Davies Nakitare said Kenyans expect their MPs to clear pending Bills, introduce new others and resolve the puzzle of the Armenians brothers alleged to be mercenaries.
- Kenya Times Newspaper: VIGIL CORNER
Is it true that Artur Margaryan has been recruited into the police force, given a force number, and promoted to the rank of an Assistant Commissioner of Police? If this is the case, then Kenya has once again broken the Guinness Book of Records.
- Kenya Times Newspaper: Strengthen Govt news media
At that time, the new government was anjoying all the good will from the general public, and by extention from the private media system. If the private media could highlight government policy and action in positive light, what was the good of KNA? The former permanent secretary thought. That notwithstanding, the then good government/media relations, I found the attitude of the official(who was previously a district commissioner in rural Kenya for many years, disturbing) quite disturbing.
- Kenya Times Newspaper: Murage refutes Armenians link
. . . they have recruited security services from a local woman who also serves as their bodyguard. Ms Shefana Igbal, is a daughter of a renown Mombasa businessman said to be close to businessmen in the underworld and particularly drug barons, our sources confided to us. The armed woman is known for her daring driving skills and apart from chauffeuring Artur Margaryan around the city, she also doubles as a bodyguard. . . . Nairobi is a major transit point for two major routes of the international drug trade originating in South East Asia, through the United Arab Emirates to Nairobi destined to South Africa and Europe. Lax controls and corruption have enabled drug traffickers and terrorists to smuggle nuclear blue prints through Kenya and launder money through its territory. The foreigners claim to be real estate investors with President Mwai Kibaki’s blessings but have not declared their properties and money transactions.
- Kenya Times Newspaper: Are we held to ransom by mercenaries?
THE saga surrounding two Armenians, variously referred to as mercenaries and investors on the other hand took a new twist yesterday, when it become apparent that the duo have no known accounts in any Kenyan bank. Sources close to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) have confirmed that Mr Artur Margaryan and his brother Arur Sargayan, neither operate a bank account indivindually, nor in any of the companies associated with them. Neither the Brotherhood International Company, nor any other company associated with them has a bank account in any of the 42 banks registered in Kenya, or in any of the existing forex bureaux in Kenya. . . . This means that the Sh 150,000 the duo are claiming to be spending daily cannot be accounted for, alluding to a possibility of massive money laundering in the country.
- Kenya Broadcasting Corporation: "Prioritize Devpt issues," Media told
While he agreed that Kenyans were entitled to access of information the minister cautioned that some information ought to be kept secret for security purposes. According to the minister, the government was planning to hire 160 public relations officers to assist in information dissemination.
- KENYA: I AM IN KENYA TO STAY, SAYS ARMENIAN
The confident-looking man, dressed in black and sporting gold chains, bracelets and rings, emerged from his Runda House at 10.15am to tell a group of journalists that the Westlands (Gumo) and Makadara (Ndolo) MPs had no authority to raid his house.
- K B C (Kenya Broadcasting Corporation): Raila blamed for mercenary debate
He admitted having links with the family of slain drug Baron Ibrahim Akasha, but denied dealing in drugs
- Headlines | Series of meetings over Sh6b cocaine disposal
"The cocaine haul is obviously a matter of concern to my government and the United States and Netherlands governments because there has been a number of Kenya Airways cabin crew who have been arrested at Heathrow and other parts of the world."
- Headlines | Mercenaries thrive where law and order have degenerated
- Headlines | Artur whereabouts in city remain unknown
But one of Margaryan’s lawyers, who requested anonymity, said the Armenian had gone underground. He asid a public relations firm had been hired to handle information pertaining to him.
- Embassy: The Twists and Turns of Kenya's Media Crackdown
The government has published a Media Bill due to be tabled in parliament for enactment. According to the Bill, press accreditation of those considered rebel journalists is to be withdrawn. The current self-regulated Media Council of Kenya would be transformed into a statutory media council, essentially becoming a censorship body. The Bill will also allow for the creation of a media content commission that, with a fine toothcomb, will check on content in both electronic and print media to ensure the media toe the government line. Toeing the line will also be expected of public publications published by the civil society and the faith community.
- Commentaries | Dont fault the media for probing ruling elite
A conscious citizenry, as everyone knows or ought to know, is a threat to power clique interests. This meticulousness is the problem because it offends those who are scared of too much light cast on their performance. It is generally recognised that people who speak from the inside may not share the perspective of those who view from the outside looking in.
- Armenian keeps a low profile
He was spotted along Mombasa Road in the company of businessman Raju Sanghani handling electronic equipment.
- Irate women scream at Artur Margaryan