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Economy

How Sh180m Youth Fund loot was spent

Suspended Youth Enterprise Fund CEO Catherine Namuye. PHOTO | FILE
Suspended Youth Enterprise Fund CEO Catherine Namuye. PHOTO | FILE 

Most of the Sh180 million stolen from the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) was used to purchase luxury homes, pay debts and line the pockets of powerful individuals, law firms and companies.

Parliament’s Public Investments Committee (PIC) made the revelations in a report tabled in the House after last month’s probe into the multi-million shilling scandal that has dominated public discourse since last year.

The report, which is a study into the inner workings of corruption networks in Kenya, shows how public funds were illegally moved through commercial banks into individual pockets and ultimately used to buy personal assets.

Businessman Mukuria Ngamau, for instance, used his company Quorandum Limited’s Chase Bank account to receive money from the youth fund and make several transactions with third parties, including the purchase of a duplex apartment in Nairobi’s Lavington estate.

The property was bought from Duchess Park Limited at a cost of Sh48.5 million.

PIC found that Mr Ngamau transferred Sh59,082,835 that was part of the proceeds of fraudulent youth fund transactions to Quorandum’s account at Chase Bank  from where the funds were moved to Quorandum’s account at Standard Chartered Bank, Yaya Centre Branch.

The funds were then used “to make further transactions and payments on various dates to third parties, including a payment of Sh3.3 million to Bruce Dominic Odhiambo’s account at Co-operative Bank, purportedly for payments of supplies and consultancy services,” the report which was tabled in Parliament says.

PIC has recommended the prosecutions of more than 10 people it identified for conspiring to defraud the youth fund of its resources. Top on the list is former YEDF chairman Bruce Odhiambo, suspended chief executive Catherine Namuye and Mr Ngamau.

PIC says Quorandum Limited separately received Sh115 million and Sh65 million from the youth fund as payments for purported consultancy services to develop an Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Strategic Plan and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System.

The money was then used to make payments to third parties, including settlement of a Sh18 million debt owed to Great Lakes Limited.

The payment was made through Nairobi law firm Ngigi Mbugua & Company Advocates, revealing the involvement of professionals in facilitating the illicit transactions.

Mr Ngamau also paid Sh9.24 million to Britcom International, a UK-based company, for the purchase of an excavator/grader, but the report does not say whether the machine was delivered.

Doreen Waithera Ng’ang’a, a co-director at Quorandum Limited and also Mr Ngamau’s wife, benefited from the stolen funds, having received Sh91,480 as a repayment of a loan she had extended to her husband.

Mr Ngamau also paid Sh4.5 million to Rock Plant Limited for an undisclosed purpose, Sh2.24 million to Dilshad Mohammed for an undisclosed purpose, Sh880,000 to Mr Yogesh Kumar Bardwaj for an undisclosed purpose and Sh1 million to Simis Engineering and Construction Company Limited for an undisclosed purpose.

The committee also found that Quorandum paid Sh8,799,450 to a Mr Ezekiel Owuor’s account at Barclays Bank of Kenya Limited, purportedly for material supply/loan advance from the recipient.

The report says Mr Ngamau also made several cash withdrawals and transfers to his personal account held at Standard Chartered Bank and to personal accounts of persons closely related to him, including his spouse and co-director Doreen (Sh412,000) and Ms Tabitha Wanjiku Ngamau, his mother, who was paid Sh940,000.

PIC now wants the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate and report to the House within two months on action taken against “other Persons of Interest.”

“The committee therefore recommends that the Director of Criminal Investigations and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission should in accordance with Section 4 of Prevention of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2009  investigate Mr Ezekiel Owuor, the directors and the local representatives of Industries D’Amico Ltd, Mr Yogesh Kumar Badwarj, Mr Dilshad S. Mohammed, Ms Doreen Waithera Ng’ang’a, directors of Rock Plant Ltd, directors of Simis Engineering and Construction Company,  Mr Hillary Kiprono Yegon and any other directors of M/S K-Susu, Gigtych Limited and any other supplier who received from Mr Ngamau and Quorandum,” PIC said.

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