Josephine Kabura angers MPs as NYS probe turns theatrical
Josephine Kabura, a key suspect in the investigations on the loss of a revised figure of Ksh1.8 billion at the National Youth Service (NYS), on Tuesday appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in a heated session that was filled with dramaturgy and histrionics.
For a person who has been accused of fraudulently receiving Ksh1.67 billion from the NYS, Kabura appeared oddly calm and composed, even affording an occasional smile and laughter, and choosing which questions to answer and which ones to overlook, stirring anger among some committee members.
At one point, PAC Chair Nicholas Gumbo threatened to declare Kabura a hostile witness saying her presence before the committee was not helpful in the probe into the NYS scandal.
Kabura, who has a diploma and a higher diploma in IT, said she knew about the Ministry of Devolution and Planning through her research, later landing million-shilling deals therein.
“After registration of my companies I gave out papers to different institutions and that how I was contacted by the procurement department in the Ministry of Devolution and Planning,” Kabura said.
Her answers, however, did no auger well with Suba MP John Mbadi who questioned the truthfulness of her testimony.
“From her affidavit, it is not true that Kabura landed the deals after receiving calls from the procurement department. In fact, it is clearly spelt out that she received help from former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru in registering the companies and even landing the deals,” he said.
Though she admitted to knowing former CS Waiguru, who has also been adversely named in the NYS saga, Kabura refused to state how she knows her.
Upon further probing, Kabura admitted to having landed the deals with the help of Waiguru whom she had met in 2012.
The 35-year-old businesswoman said she was the sole proprietor of 20 companies all of which were awarded tenders by the NYS.
Her reason for opening many companies, she said, was “to stand higher chances of landing more business tenders”.
She however stated that it was not an open tender and she was therefore directly given LPOs for the services.
But what is it that Kabura supplied?
“I supplied road construction materials, vector control equipment, cutters, protective clothing and other equipment used in engineering.”
When put to task over the alarming withdrawals of huge sums of money from her account, some totaling to Ksh100 million in a day, Kabura seemed to slither through the noose saying the withdrawals were justified as they were used to pay workers at her quarries.
She stated that she would stack the withdrawn money in carry bags and transport them to the site for payment.
Her transactions were however put to question, with the committee wondering how she was able to carry as much as Ksh52 million from the bank without any assistance, and why there were no receipts to back her statement.
“As I said, that money was used to pay suppliers and I would carry them in bags.”
Kitutu Chache MP Timothy Bosire asked Kabura to name the people working at the quarry who were paid the money and how much they were paid.
“We heard that at the quarry, excavation and any physical business was done by NYS and even your lawyer said that Ksh52 million was transferred to the quarry for payment. Who was paid and how much were they paid?” asked Bosire.
In her response, Kabura said that her work was to supply items, saying that NYS had already he established a quarry and her work was to pay for the materials she would get from the quarry.
She once again refused to respond to questions as to why she did not have receipts to confirm that the payments for services took place.
Who was paid the Ksh1.67 billion?
She however revealed that she did not pay the money to NYS since “that was not their quarry.”
Kabura could also not name the owner of the quarries and their locations saying she does could not remember.
“I know the quarries are located in Rongai but I am not aware of the owners. Since the dealings were from two years ago, I cannot recall the people who were paid.”
She said that not all the money withdrawn from the account went to paying for supplies, saying some of the money was diverted to other business activities.
Attempts by the clearly dissatisfied members to squeeze out names of those who dealt with Kabura, or those who allegedly used her to swindle NYS money, bore no fruit as she refused to divulge any names.
She also refused to speak about her relationship with former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru’s sister Loise Mbarire, instead referring the committee to her affidavit.
It also emerged that Kabura gave Deputy President William Ruto’s aide Farouk Kibet money, but she refused to speak more on the dealings.
Kabura also admitted to not having paid taxes from the money she received from NYS, further raising questions about the legality of her transactions.
The committee asked Kabura to provide bank details of the other 11 companies, having only availed statements for nine companies.
The MPs could not make any headway in the afternoon session, which Kabura had requested to be held in camera, forcing them to storm out.