Members of the National Assembly Committee on Finance Wednesday, March 22, raised questions after the Directors of Jamhuri Holdings, the company involved in the Telkom takeover saga, failed to honour a summon.
Jamhuri Holdings, according to the Finance Committee, is a company registered in Mauritius and owned by Helios Investment Partners; a firm registered in the Cayman Islands.
The legislators had invited Directors of Jamhuri Holdings in the ongoing probe into the dealings that saw Kenyan taxpayers pay Ksh6.1 billion in government’s plans to fully own Telkom Kenya.
However, the directors declined the invitation meant to give more insights to the MPs probing the matter and instead chose to send a letter to the committee to respond to concerns raised.
The failure to turn up before the committee sparked concerns as legislators questioned the legitimacy of the company and the motive behind the hesitation to meet the committee in person.
Speaking during the joint committee session, Dagoretti MP and the Chairperson of the Committee on Communication and Information John Kiarie castigated the move by the directors noting that it was contrary to the law.
“One of the key persons of interest was Jamhuri Holdings Ltd, and members were very keen to put faces to these names of directors and to further understand their involvement in this widely talked about acquisition,” Kiarie stated in the session.
“We need to establish, as a committee, if we are dealing with actual or imaginary people involved in this payment by public money. It is a matter of grave concern to us if at all these people actually exist or the money was paid to imaginary individuals,“ added Kiarie.
His sentiments were echoed by his Molo counterpart Kuria Kimani who cast his doubts on the goodwill of the directors lifting the lid on the transaction that cost taxpayers Ksh6 billion.
“As it is, we are unable to establish the authenticity of this letter, purported to be from the company,” Kimani added.
In addition, the two committees probing the matter pointed to inconsistency in the communication from Jamhuri Holdings citing a case where the company replied to letters that were never sent to them by the National Assembly.
Further, the MPs revealed that scrutiny by the two Committees pointed to possible illegitimacy of the letters from the company. As such, the legislators rendered the documents sent to them inadmissible and demanded that the Directors appear before the MPs in person.
Among the answers the joint committee sought from the directors was the planned exit of Jamhuri from the ownership of Telkom, and the role played by the Communications Authority (CA) in the process.
Meanwhile, former Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani was expected to appear before the committee later in the day as the process to unravel the truth behind the now-famous saga continued.
On Tuesday, March 21, former Telkom Chairperson Edward Njoroge distanced himself from the transaction and claimed that senior government officials wanted him out during and after the transaction.