Linda runs my side hus­tle to the ground

Business Daily (Kenya) - - THE WEEKENDER -

Ihad to close my side hus­tle last week, and I’m not too pleased about it. I made the tough de­ci­sion af­ter re­view­ing the books and com­ing to the re­al­i­sa­tion that I was just bleed­ing money. A few months ago, Shiro some­how per­suaded me that hir­ing her cousin would be a good thing. She enu­mer­ated all the pos­i­tive at­tributes about her cousin, which in­cluded that she was B. Comm Grad­u­ate who would know how to man­age the busi­ness like a pro­fes­sional.

I had my mis­giv­ings, but by the time of the dis­cus­sion, I was run­ning out of op­tions. We had a dis­cus­sion with Linda (Shiro’s cousin) and agreed that she would be shar­ing weekly up­dates on the sales and busi­ness per­for­mance. The first week, she did a good job. She shared a busi­ness pre­sen­ta­tion that showed busi­ness per­for­mance and rec­om­men­da­tions.

On the sec­ond week she shared an­other pro­posal which showed im­proved sales and an in­ter­est­ing rec­om­men­da­tion that we should, “open an M-pesa shop.” I was ac­tu­ally im­pressed by this sug­ges­tion and even won­dered why I had not thought about it in the first place. I called an ex-col­lege mate and asked him to hook me up with some form of M-pesa agency for my shop. It does help to know peo­ple for within a week, we were up and run­ning.

Af­ter a week, Linda sent me an up­date, which in­di­cated that we had made a good de­ci­sion for the num­bers were com­ing in and

mov­ing up. On the third week, I did not re­ceive any­thing from Linda and so I called her and asked her, “Linda, what hap­pened to the re­port?” She re­sponded with an em­bar­rassed gig­gle say­ing, “Haki Jose nimekuwa busy na

wa­teja, ni­ta­tuma kesho [Oh, Joe, I have been busy with cus­tomers; I will send it to­mor­row].”

I was taken aback by her fa­mil­iar­ity, but my feelings were some­how muted be­cause she had spo­ken about be­ing busy with cus­tomers. I rea­soned she must have made a lot of money in the process. Yet a week later, there was noth­ing forth­com­ing from her and this had me wor­ried and es­pe­cially be­cause her phone went unan­swered.

So I de­cided to pass by the shop on my way home, hop­ing to find out what was go­ing on. I was rather shocked when I found a huge pad­lock on the door. So I phoned Linda - there was no an­swer. I sent her a text and asked her, “where are you? Are you okay? I am at the shop.”

Since I had the shop keys with me, I de­cided to get into the shop and check out the place. The store looked quite sparse and it seemed

that a lot of stuff was miss­ing. Things def­i­nitely were not very good in the shop. The state of af­fairs made me re­alise that I needed an au­dit of op­er­a­tions, but how was I go­ing to tell Shiro about her cousin. These thoughts dis­turbed me as I headed home, since it was now clear that I needed to take ac­tion.

As I was ap­proach­ing home, my phone rang. It was Linda. She was rather breath­less in her con­ver­sa­tion and said, “Jose, sorry ni­likuwa

mgonjwa, nikaenda nyum­bani [I was sick and had to go home].” She did not sound very apolo­getic about her ab­sence and this con­vinced me that I need to take ac­tion even more ur­gently. How­ever, I was not go­ing to give away any­thing about my in­ten­tions. I there­fore told her not to worry, wished her quick re­cov­ery and that I hoped she would open the shop the fol­low­ing day.

A few days later, I sent an ex­col­lege mate who now works as an au­di­tor to con­duct a ran­dom au­dit on the shop. As ex­pected, Linda in­formed her cousin Shiro who did not take it kindly that I was check­ing on her rel­a­tive. I told her that she needed to give the au­di­tors an op­por­tu­nity to make the find­ings known to me.

The fi­nal re­port was rather scary. In a nut­shell, Linda had been steal­ing from the busi­ness and now I had lost over Sh2 mil­lion. I there­fore had no choice; I had to close the busi­ness and go back to the draw­ing board.

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