Sunday Reading: Tatu City is a Mammoth Financial Drain

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By Blamuel Njururi, Kenya Confidential Editor in Chief, Nairobi – August 19, 2018

The National Intelligence Service (NIS) must boost its National Economic Affairs Desk to keep abreast, if not ahead of those driving the scourge of endemic Corruption that ravages the public coffers and public resources with abandon. The NIS has been the silent observer or indeed an impotent bystander as well known politicians, businesspeople and criminal cartels plunder the public coffers with abandon.

  • Why is it that it is the press Kenyans go to unearth monumental Corruption at every turn of the day involving billions of shillings, grabbing of public land at every corner of the country in which NIS agents live but are all invisible to a body expected to furnish its employer whose resources are plundered every minute of the day?
  • Does NIS have a desk that can promptly digest Auditor General Reports that take ages to reach Parliament opening avenues for corrupt MPs and Senators to extort cash from senior civil servants?
  • Why do politicians and civil servants steal billions of shillings, year in, year out without any action yet a Kenyan who attacks or discloses the thieves is likely to end up in a sack under the waters of Ol-donyo Sabuk, Karura Forest and numerous other killing fields?
  • What brief does NIS hold on matters National Security grossly undermined by corruption driven by organised criminal cartels that are also killing Kenyan youths with killer brews and drugs?

NIS, Directorate of Criminal Investigations and Ethics and Anticorruption Commission whould work in tandem to advance the fight against corruption. Corruption affects all Kenyans, born and unborn and there should be no borders in its fight if success is expected. Politicians are direct beneficiaries of corruption and they have demonstrated openly they are not to be trusted at all. The adulterated sugar, the Mau Forest and Tatu City cases are perfect examples of why Kenyans cannot trust Parliamentarians in the War on Corruption.

In flagrant defiance of National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi’s recent ruling to rid the so-called Honourable House of  “friends of the committee” predators, five Members of Parliament last week rowdily strode into the scandalous Tatu City hearing, causing a fracas as industrialist Vimal Shah was giving evidence on the scandalous management of the gravy train.

That Tatu City has the potential of becoming the biggest economic drain in Kenya is not in question. The team of “friends” led by Luanda MP Chris Omulele, who was earlier thrown out of the committee over alleged conflict of interest when a letter was tabled linking his wife to one of the parties in the multi-billion shilling land ownership tussle. Tatu City foreign directors had gone to a Thika Court and walked out with an order gagging Parliament from discussing minority shareholders petition.

Muturi was prompted to issue a communication from the Chair following what he termed “unbecoming conduct among members in House committee hearings” with accusation of bribery that brought to doubt the objectivity and veracity of probe reports. He was indeed closing the paddock after the horse bolted.

Muturi: Shutting the paddock after the horse bolted

The MPs Omulele, Babu Owino (Embakasi East), Owen Baya (Kilifi), Olago Aluoch (Kisumu West), David Sankok(Nominated), Silvanus Osoro(South Mugirango) and Gideon Kosgey(Chepalungu) threw the Rachel Nyamai-led committee into fits and shouting match, heckling and disruptions as Shah gave his evidence.

Shah, was invited the House Lands committee but his testimony drowned in rowdy heckling when he accused majority shareholder Stephen Jennings of being “a ruthless liar” – which he is. Shah along with the Tatu City chairman Nahashon Nyaga and  a Stephen Mwagiru are the minority shareholders, who have accused Jennings  of refusing to honour a court order directing that a forensic audit on the company accounts be carried out.

“The audit if carried out will help unearth the woes facing Tatu City, the majority shareholders have failed to convince both us and the courts as to why they are opposed to this audit,” said Shah.

Babu led the so-called friends in demanding that Shah withdraws the statement. “How can you prove that your partner is ruthless? You must withdraw the remark as it is both unparliamentary and unbecoming,” he said. Shah is not a Member of Parliament and is not bound by any standing orders in his choice of words or expression of his presentation. It was Babu and his colleagues who were behaving in unparliamentary and unbecoming conduct.

Tatu City Company owns 5,000-acre mixed-utility development land valued at Ksh85 billion. Shah was interrupted several times by the members who alleged he was discrediting Jennings.

Lennings: Discredited foreign “investor”

The persistent verbal brawl prompted Changamwe MP Omar Mwinyi to threaten resigning from his position owing to the appalling and vested interest displayed openly by compromised MPs. He said, “The conduct of some of us is quite unbecoming. The gentleman before us is a witness; invited by this committee to hear his side of the story but members cannot give him time to say it. I feel disappointed.”

Mwinyi pleaded with the chairperson to reign in the “misbehaving MPs for the sake of the integrity of those willing to maintain dignity” to no avail. At some stage Cherangany MP Joshua Kuttuny  urged  the chairperson Nyamai to declare the members out of order, demanding they state their stand on the matter and whose interests they were representing. “From the actions and words being thrown by some of us, it is clear that they are representing the interests of one side in this petition,” he said.

The rowdy MPs wanted to block Shah from disclosing that the majority directors headed by Stephen Jennings had repatriated more than $140 million (Ksh14 billion) from irregular sale of land intended for Tatu City development.

His evidence collaborated information given by fellow minority shareholders on money being siphoned out with fresh revelations the majority shareholders were stashing money in offshore accounts in Cyprus.

Nyaga had earlier told the Parliamentary committee that the foreign investors  have defrauded Kenya Revenue Authority over Ksh 6.5 billion and wants the Director of Criminal Investigations to probe majority shareholder Stephen Jennings and his other directors of Kofinaf Company Limited, over unaccounted sum of $13, 540,003 (Ksh1.3 billion ) in respect of excess amount paid for acquisition of the loan.

Nyaga also wants the foreign directors stopped from selling off company land until after a thorough probe on tax evasion is heard and determined. He also wants Tatu City Ltd to be investigated on the whereabouts of  $51,522,175,05 (Ksh 5.1 billion) while another minority shareholder, Mwagiru, indicated that the majority shareholders were involved in tax evasion amounting to Ksh 1.5 billion.

Shah: Whistle-blowing on monstrous financial scandal

Shah, of Bidco fame, told the committee the company had paid Ksh 618 million to law firms despite its turnover being Sh2 billion. “One fails to understand how the company can spend a huge amount of its income to pay lawyers,” he  said adding that the company under Stephen Jennings was disposing of land without involving other colleagues.

He said that by selling land belonging to the company, Jennings was acting contrary to the memorandum of understanding and the concept of forming the company which was to set up a mammoth city.

Jennings is setting up Kenya the same way so-called foreign investors hoodwinked Kenyans to set up the phantom KenRen fertilizer plant in Mombasa during the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta regime in which Kenya ended up paying millions in compensation after it failed and they sued the Kenya government for breach of contract. The Kenya government paid the crooks during Dictator Daniel Moi regime into Mwai kibaki regime and even today the government has never stated if the payments stopped.

That’s exactly how Stephen Jennings makes his MONEY with CORRUPTION of Judiciary & Legislature. He will now shift blame to Parliament, Media Houses & Kenya Government to claim damages from London courts. He used same trick in Hermitage & RenGaz tax refund claim frauds in Russia

Notoriuos Anglo Leasing Deepak Kamani did the same by suing the Kenya government when make-believe projects were cancelled and he sued the government for which President Uhuru Kenyatta paid billions of shillings immediately he took office.

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