CS Waiguru helped me at NYS-Kabura
Businesswoman unable to explain where she took Sh52m in cash.
An evasive Josephine Kabura, chief conduit in the Sh791 NYS scandal, yesterday told MPs former Devolution CS Anne Waiguru helped her secure multi-million tenders through single sourcing.
Kabura was declared a hostile witness who testified under threat of arrest.
She once again named Waiguru as the architect of the scam who knew what was going on all along and misled police when they started investigating.
Kabura was interrogated for about nine hours, four of them in camera at her request. She said she feared for her life if some of her revelations were made public. That hearing ended at 6.30pm.
She had a hard time explaining how she moved Sh100 million in cash and said it was easy, she carried it in sacks and went back and for to cars.
Kabura also had difficulty explaining in public how her 20 companies, which were not pre-qualified, so easily won major tenders, how she got start-up capital, why she had so many companies, how much money she delivered and to whom.
MPs became impatient and frustrated with her answers in public.
In court, Kabura faces 15 counts of money laundering, charges of fraud and related offences involving National Youth Service, along with other suspects.
In the public portion of the hearing, the composed witness weathered a barrage of questions and repeated that she did clean business with NYS.
Kabura, once Waiguru’s hairdresser, wore a black jacket and grey dress. She is now described as an IT expert.
According to documents presented to the committee, Kabura registered and single-highhandedly ran 20 sole proprietorships that collectively received Sh1.6 billion from NYS.
None of the 20 businesses paid tax on their earnings and no tax returns were filed, Kabura said.
Behind closed doors, she revealed confidential details regarding some of the people to whom she gave money and their roles, the Star hs learnt.
In public, Kabura was unable to recall or produce evidence of anyone who supplied her with goods and to whom she paid millions of shillings.
Kabura said she worked closely with Waiguru.
“I have no blood relationship with Waiguru but I know Waiguru. I met her in April 2012 and she introduced me to NYS and that is how I got my jobs,” Kabura told the Nicholas Gumbo-led Public Accounts Committee.
She had avoided appearing before the committee. Her lawyers cited her busy schedule attending court as the reason she could not attend and said she would be available in mid-November.
But when the committee decided to ask police IG Joseph Boinnet arrest her and produce her in Parliament, she and her lawyers became compliant.
Kabura told the committee she holds a diploma and higher diploma in IT from KCA University, formerly known as a college of accounting. Waiguru initially described her as her hairdresser.
She was was hard pressed to convince the committee how she easily managed to win the tenders, especially because her companies were not pre-qualified.
Her companies were paid Sh1.6 billion of the Sh1.8 billion looted from the NYS, according to documents tabled before the committee.
Kabura, according to a special audit by the Auditor General, was set to receive Sh695.4 million from the NYS before the alarm was raised and the fraudulent transaction stopped.
He said Kabura was the chief beneficiary of the scandal and 11 of her companies received Sh1.3 billion.
Form Homes Builders, Reinforced Concrete Technologies, Roof and All
Trading and Smart Board are among her companies that reaped NYS funds.
Kabura told MPs her contact within the NYS procurement department was key in processing the tenders, which she neither quoted nor tendered for. Her companies were not pre-qualified by the Devolution ministry and the state-owned Supplies branch.
Yesterday, she was accompanied by her lawyer Franklin Omimo, whom she frequently consulted.
She told the committee she was issued with Local Purchase Orders to supply goods at the height of the mega scandal. These were smoothly handled and executed without a formal contract, Kabura said.
Kabura said she worked with Home Systems, a subsidiary of Kenya Data Network, from 2006 while she also supplied IT-related products before she resigned to venture into business.
The witness testified she owns20 companies that benefitted from NYS contracts but had only registered five by the time she started doing business with the state.
MPs questioned her motive in registering many companies to siphon public funds.
“I registered the rest while at the NYS for tendering,” she said. “I registered so many companies to increase my chances of getting business from the government and many other companies out there.”
Asked how she raised initial capital, when her bank balance was Sh650, Kabura said she got soft loans from friends and used “small” savings. The businesswoman was hard pressed to explain how she was able to move Sh100 million she withdrew in cash from the bank to pay her stone quarry “suppliers”.
“How did you transport the money? I mean Sh100 million is the same as 100kg of cement. How were you able to carry that? Are you able to carry five, 20-litre jerricans,” chairman Gumbo asked.
Kabura replied that she carried the money in bags and in turns from the bank without any security, all the way to Rongai to pay quarry owners.
“I carried the money safely, I could take one bag at a time to a car in the same building and then transport it to pay suppliers,” she said. “Because work was going on day and night, I needed to have cash all the time.”
The committee rejected her explanation after she failed to produce evidence of proof to so-called suppliers.
She said she could also not recollect the names of the suppliers and how much each received. She said she could not remember what happened two long years ago.
“NYS sourced the quarry and was providing lorries to transport materials from Rongai. My work was to pay the quarry owners for the materials,” she said.
But Kajiado North MP Joseph Manje said it was untrue that millions were spent at the quarry in his constituency.
“One lorry goes for Sh2,500, Sh1 million means that 400 lorries were involved. This is false because if that money was put there, as area MP I would feel the influence,” he said.
Kabura admitted lending her “friend”, ex-KCB driver John Kago, Sh60 million cash without security.
Parliamentary Accounts Committee Chairman Nicholas Gumbo during Kabura’s testimony yesterday in the Sh791m NYS scandal, at Parliament Buildings