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Companies associated with politicians reaped millions from NYS

This comes in the wake of reported intense lobbying by those suspected to have benefited from the loss of Sh1.6 billion to influence the outcome of a parliamentary investigation.

While most of the lawmakers identified in the companies on our list are not named as directors and there is no clear indication of wrongdoing in the tender awards, questions of conflict of interest and possible influence peddling linger.

Companies associated with at least 10 MPs and prominent politicians reaped millions of shillings in tenders from the National Youth Service (NYS), investigations by the Nation have established.

Kenirie, a company associated with relatives of Kiambu Woman Representative Nyokabi Gatheca, who is related to President Uhuru Kenyatta, is listed among those that benefited from NYS contracts.

It was awarded a contract worth Sh88.9 million to supply injector pumps, mostly used in diesel engines. The directors of the company are listed as Felistas Wanjiku Chege, Catherine Ngina Gatheca and Muthoni Lucy Gatheca.

The Woman Representative did not respond to repeated requests for a comment.

The family of Runyenjes MP Cecily Mbarire also got Sh75.6 million for supplying unspecified equipment and machines through Dayton Investment. The company’s directors are Peter Nthiga Mbarire and Grace Rwamba Mbarire. It was registered in January 2012. The Runyenjes MP, too, has not responded to inquiries from the Nation.

RUBBER GLOVES

Nominated Senator Paul Njoroge, who was last week captured in a gun drama with Shell/Vivo Managing Director Polycarp Igathe, is also caught up in the web of tenders after the company Clout Ventures was paid Sh40 million for supplying industrial rubber gloves and gumboots.

The Senator admitted having done business with NYS but said his company had nothing to do with the stolen funds.

“We won the tender competitively and our prices were not exaggerated like some have done,” he said.

He claims he is being targeted because he has been vocal in condemning theft at NYS.

Another company paid at least Sh40 million is said to be associated with an MP from Nyeri who we cannot name as the list of directors was not available by the time of going to press. The MP is also associated with two other companies paid at least Sh50 million.

Bonito Properties, a company associated with Bungoma gubernatorial aspirant Wycliffe Wangamati, was paid Sh21.7 million for the refurbishment of NYS barracks in Gilgil.

A legislator from Samburu is also said to have received at least Sh10 million in tenders. The lawmaker declined to comment when contacted.

A Nairobi-based politician with hopes of unseating Governor Evans Kidero on a Jubilee ticket also made Sh40 million from the transactions. Companies linked to him are, however, registered using proxies.

ELIUD WABUKALA

Both the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission headed by retired Archbishop Eliud Wabukala and the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee under Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo are investigating the matter.

Our information was pieced together through interviews with multiple sources and an examination of documents – including a special Auditor- General’s report presented to the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly.

Last year, allegations emerged that relatives of Suna East MP Junet Mohammed also benefited from the tenders. However, the MP denied influencing the tender award.

“Some MPs panicked when Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa and others called a press conference in November to reveal that Junet’s family did business with NYS. There are many MPs and senior government officials who benefited from the tenders. Even though they did legitimate business, they obviously used their influence and insider knowledge to get them,” a source at the heart of the investigations said.

Former Devolution Principal Secretary Peter Mangiti, former NYS director General Nelson Githinji, his deputy Adan Gedow Harakhe and senior Devolution Ministry administrator Hassan Noor Hassan are among officials charged with various offences. Ms Josephine Kabura Irungu and Mr Ben Gethi were among the first suspects to be arraigned in court.

Earlier last year, former Devolution CS Anne Waiguru requested President Kenyatta to form a commission of inquiry to investigate the matter.

The conduct of legislators since the scandal broke in 2015 has been a subject of debate. For example, MPs hiding under the guise of “friends of the committee” mobbed a session of the Finance and Administration Committee on July 7, 2015, turning the session into a near-circus.

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