Kenya’s Departmental Committee to Probe Kshs. 6.014B Disbursement to Telkom: Was Taxpayer Money Lost?

The committee on Finance and National Planning to Conduct Inquiry into the disbursement of KSHS 6.014 B to Telkom Kenya for Helios’ exit.

The Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning, Kenya is set to commence an inquiry into the disbursement of Kshs. 6.014B to Telkom Kenya to facilitate the exit of Helios Investment Partners. The Kimani Kuria-led Committee in particular seeks to establish if the law was followed in the disbursement of the money under Article 223 of the Constitution.

The Committee through a report recently recommended to the House the disapproval of the disbursement which happened in August 2022, but whose approval was sought in January 2023. 

The implication of the recommendation which was carried by the House, is that the disbursement remains unapproved, hence the need for the Committee to conduct the probe to ascertain if there was loss of taxpayers money through the transaction.

Article 223 of the Constitution allows the National Government to spend money that has not been appropriated if the amount appropriated for any purpose under the Appropriations Act is insufficient or a need has arisen for expenditure. The approval for any spending under this Article should however be sought within two months after the first withdrawal of the money. 

If the House is not scheduled for sitting as the case with this transaction, the approval is to be sought within two weeks after it sits next. However, in this case, the approval was only sought through the Supplementary Estimates I for the 2022/23 Financial Year submitted to the House on 31st January 2023-approximately 4 months after the transaction took place. 

It is on this premise that the Committee will commence an inquiry next week to ascertain how the disbursement was approved, effected, used, and whether the necessary conditions for such disbursement as provided under the Article and subsidiary laws were followed. The Committee will also be seeking to get information on when Jamhuri Holding Limited was incorporated in Kenya and its shareholding. 

The Committee which is mandated to consider matters in relation to public finance among other related roles, is also keen to find out when Helios Investment Partners through Jamhuri Holding Limited (JHL) became a shareholder in Telkom

Kenya and what was the exit value of the shareholding. The Legislators also seek to establish the regulatory and statutory approval granted by the Communication Authority of Kenya and Capital Markets Authority for the acquisition of Telkom shares by Jamhuri Holding Limited. 

The probe will also inquire whether JHL remitted the statutory fees and taxes to the Kenya Revenue Authority for the acquisition and exit from Telkom shareholding. The Committee also aims to determine if former Treasury Cabinet Secretary Amb. Ukur Yatani and Former Principal Secretary, Julius Muia, and the Controller of Budget Dr. Margaret Nyakang’o undertook due diligence when processing the transaction. 

Besides these former and serving officials, the Committee has enlisted the Attorney General, Telkom Management, Jamhuri Holding Limited, Communication Authority of Kenya, Capital Marketing Authority and the Kenya Revenue Authority to appear before the Committee to aid the inquiry.

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