Americans’ video deal was ‘casual’ No official contract

There was no official contract between Laikipia county government and an American couple that wanted to shoot a Sh11 million documentary to market Kenya in the US, members of the County Assembly have been told.

Mr James Drake and his wife Hannah on Thursday told Laikipia County Assembly committees on Trade and Tourism, and Public Accounts that the only official document was a letter from Inter-governmental and Donor Liaison Officer Lantano Naabala inviting them to the county.

They said they were referred to Mr Edward Hassan by the Kenyan Embassy in Washington, DC and eventually established a partnership with him to explore tourism products and investment opportunities for the American market.


“It was not crystal clear to us how the system here works. We don’t understand everything about the process but we knew that Edward has a reputable firm doing the same thing as us,” Mrs Drake said.

The couple from Colorado said they specialise in high definition video production and their clients include the Time magazine and Sports Illustrated.

Apart from the letter, Mr Drake said the only other communication about the deal were emails between his firm, Mr Nabaala and Mr Hassan.

He said at first he thought Mr Hassan was working for the county government.


Mr Hassan told the committees that Kenya Ambassador to the US Robinson Njeru Githae had referred many firms to him but he had chosen to work with the Drakes.

He claimed the county government had reneged on the deal and accused members of the executive of mistreating the guests during a night meeting at a hotel in Meru County.

The Americans, he said, were also ordered to seek alternative accommodation after the county government said it would not foot the bill when the issue became public.

Public Accounts Committee chairman Peter Thomi said while the idea was good, the deal lacked papers to be relied upon except the unsigned letter by Mr Lantano and the emails.

The committees are expected to compile a report and present it to the House in three weeks.

The Americans, on the other hand, are expected to leave for Ghana for other assignments.


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