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Companies

I don't know who owns Telkom, says Mucheru

Joe Mucheru
ICT minister Joe Mucheru. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

ICT Secretary Joe Mucheru told a parliamentary team Tuesday that he is unaware of who is behind a 60 percent stake of Telkom Kenya that is held by Jamuhuri Holdings.

“I don’t know the owners of Jamuhuri Holdings. That can only be given to you by the National Treasury who are responsible for government shareholding in Telkom,” he told the Committee on Implementation Tuesday.

Mr Mucheru's comments on Telkom's ownership are curious given that the firm is majority owned by UK-based private equity firm Helios Investment Partners via Jamhuri Holdings, information that is in the public domain.

He also risks being sanctioned for failing to explain why a House resolution asking the government to reconsider privatisation of Telkom Kenya and the restructuring of its balance sheet has not been implemented five years down the line.

The House had approved a Public Investments Committee (PIC) report that found that the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), now the Communications Authority of Kenya, and the Privatisation Commission were never involved in the restructuring of Telkom’s balance sheet.

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“I have no answers as to whether the right procedures were followed in the privatisation of Telkom Kenya,” Mr Mucheru said.

“A company ceases to be State Corporation when it has less shareholding. The investment secretary or the CS Treasury is competent to be able to provide the information that you need,” he said, prompting committee chairman Moitalel ole Kenta to end the meeting prematurely.

“You are hostile towards this committee. I rule that you provide all the information that we have asked you within the next 14 days…If not, you will be the first CS to face sanctions on the floor of the House,” said Mr Kenta ruled.

MPs accused Mr Mucheru of misleading them since an Executive Order issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2018 placed Telkom Kenya under the ICT Ministry.

The Ole Kenta-led team is responsible for ensuring that all the resolutions of the 2014 Special Report of Public Investment Committee (PIC) on the privatisation, recapitalisation and restructuring Telkom Kenya’s balance sheet are implemented.

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