For many years, he has been touted as one of the best corporate Kenya players. His boyish smile, innocent looks, media-shy demeanour and obvious position in the country’s leading institution has given him extra-points and sense of importance.
Up until the boardroom wars emerged last week, the elevation of a Human resource Director to head a newly acquired affiliate and obvious dealings to please the government during the 2017 Elections and now at the centre of the 2022 Uhuru succession, everything seemed to run well.
In damning documents, KCB Joshua Oigara and powerful lawyer Adil Khawaja may have helped Deputy President William Ruto, launder over 2 billion shillings in just one year.
The documents, which we are in possession of, show detailed paper trail that places all mentioned at the scene of potentially KCB’s biggest scandal yet.
But, the sacking of a Grace Ngunyi who headed Mastercard at National Bank of Kenya, the Finance Director a Mr Njuguna at the same new acquisition and previous dealing leave Oigara in deep trouble as many feel his tribalist approach to issues at the bank is denting the image of the financial monolith.
In 2015 Oigara employed a friend, a Kisii tribesman with forged education credentials into a top position (Director) until a unionist at KCB reported the matter to Central Bank of Kenya. The man with the fake credential and forged academic papers was forced to resign but not after he had been given a Shillings 30 million loan. He is yet to pay that money and it has been lined in the bank’s bad debts.
The appointment of a HR Officer at KCB Paul Russo to head the once-struggling NBK has left a lot to be desired.
In the wider scheme of things, Oigara is said to have overlooked many qualified people to settle on Rusuo who was being fronted by Treasury CS Ukur Yattani who happens to be from his Marsabit backyard. Sadly though, the politics of the nation took charge
Back to the Oigara-Ruto axis, three months ago KCB Group company secretary Joseph Kania in a statement to the Nairobi Securities Exchange announced the retirement of Adil Khawaja as Non-Executive Director of KCB board.
This action seemed procedural and timely. But under the veneer of retirement Khawaja was actually forced out by panicked bank officials. Here is why.
In May this year the regulator, Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) flagged a multi million shilling transaction. On 14 May 2020, the I&M Bank account of Adil Khawaja transferred Kshs.314 million to an account held by a Mr Tanui. Mr. Tanui is a cousin to Deputy President William Ruto. Tanui on the same day, withdrew Shs.240 million in cash. Nobody knows where he took the cash.
On the day the transfer and withdrawal happened, CBK flagged the transaction and KCB gave supporting documents of a tender supply payment at Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC). The person that signed off on the CBK query was KCB CEO Joshua Oigara. The sign off, was to indicate that the transaction was above board. But of concern to the regulator was why a non executive director of KCB who is also the Deputy President’s lawyer was sending such an amount to a cousin of the Deputy President. Of greater concern however, is why the CEO took it upon himself to sign off such a transaction in less than an hour after CBK’s query. Normally, a signature from a head of treasury department with a sign off from the Bank manager would be sufficient.
Consequently, the regulator activated the CBK anti fraud unit to investigate the suspicious transfer of monies.
What they unearthed was shocking. The investigation revealed that Adil Khawaja on William Ruto’s instructions transferred money and advised Joshua Oigara to draft a response to CBK, in the event CBK queried the transaction. At the time of the transaction, Joshua sent a message to a lady known as Veronica Nyabuto and asked her to ‘collect and deposit’ a parcel from Capital Club where Adil is a member. On 15th May, Ms Veronica deposited 16 million shillings in her KCB account. CBK sleuths believe this was a bribe given by Adil (on behalf of Ruto) to Joshua Oigara.
This will not be the first time that KCB and in particular Joshua Oigara will have been linked with a transaction of the Deputy President. At the height of the KEMSA saga, a company known as Caresha Healthcare solutions received Shs.135 million for supplying masks. The company has an account at KCB. Caresha is owned by Carolyne Cheruto Kitur who is a sister in law to DP Ruto. Of the Shs135 Million deposited, documents in our possession show that Shs.95 million was deposited in Adil Khawaja’s account. The same pattern of advise regarding drafting response queries to CBK was repeated. Joshua like clock work drafted the response letter but then delegated the sign off to a Mr Lawrence Kimathi, the KCB CFO. We cannot really tell if Oigara benefited from this transaction.
Finally, the recently infamous Kilig company transaction with KEMSA too has some link with Oigara and DP Ruto. This time round Adil doesnt feature. And that is because he did not sit in the KCB Board at the time the transaction happened.
DP Ruto’s proxy in this transaction is a son to a Moi era bureaucrat, Gichuru, who is wanted in Jersey, U.K for committing financial crimes. The man is husband to a well known former TV anchor. His company received slightly over Shs.2 Billion from KEMSA supplies. This time round lawyer Katwa Kigen was Ruto’s proxy. The son to the bureaucrat wired Shs.1.7B in tranches to Mr Kigen. And just like clockwork Oigara signed off on the CBK query letter.
We tried reaching parties involved for their response but none responded by the time we went to the press.
By Francis Midega (Special Correspondent)