The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has asked the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Renson Ingonga to press charges against former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s allies accused of circumventing the law in the Ksh6 billion Telkom takeover saga.
EACC wants former Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani, ex-Principal Secretary Julius Muia, Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o and Telkom management to take liability for what it claimed was the illegal buyback of Telkom from a private company, Helios Invest, a UK-based private equity fund.
Telkom management targetted by EACC included the chairman of the board, the CEO, the Chief Finance Officer (CFO) and the Chief Strategy & Business Officer. Helios’ transaction advisor also risks arrest.
Detectives attached to the case established that the Communications Authority of Kenya did not approve the acquisition of 60 per cent shares of Telkom Limited by the government.
Telkom Plaza along Ralph Bunche Road in Nairobi
They added that the Attorney General’s office was not consulted on the sale of Telkom as mandated by the law, as the office bearer is the chief government advisor.
EACC thus ascertained that the takeover was contrary to the Public Finance Management Regulations 2015 on supplementary appropriation.
“Investigations also revealed that the acquisition of shares by the government did not meet the threshold as provided in Regulation 40 (3) and (4) (0) of the Public Finance Management Regulations. 2015 since the transaction was not unforeseen and unavoidable.
“On August 29, 2023, a report was compiled and forwarded to the DPP with recommendations to charge the former Cabinet Secretary (CS) for the National Treasury, the former Principal Secretary at The National Treasury, the Controller of Budget, the former Director General Public Investments and Portfolio Management,” EACC stated.
Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o had claimed that Yatani coerced her to clear irregular spending a few days before the August 2022 General Election and that she never approved the withdrawal of the money to buy out Telkom Kenya from Helios Invest.
“I rejected some of the withdrawals, including the Ksh6,091,140,702 that was funding to cater for the exit of Helios Investment in Telkom Kenya Ltd. And this was in writing,” she told the Parliamentary Public Petitions Committee in March this year.
Responding to the allegations, former PS Julius Muia, while appearing before the joint sitting of the Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning and the Departmental Committee on Communication Information and Innovation, argued that the Telkonm acquisition was lawful.
“The National Treasury complied with all the legal requirements. The payment was lawful and in accordance with the constitution. It was all done in the interest of the Kenyan people,” Muia defended the buyback.
Meanwhile, Nyakang’o was arrested on Tuesday, December 5 and charged with four counts, including conspiracy to defraud and operating a Sacco without a licence contrary to the Law. She was, however, released on a Ksh500,000 cash bail after she pleaded not guilty to the offences.
Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakango at the Mombasa Law Courts on December 5, 2023
Thereafter, the High Court, on Thursday, December 7, barred the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) from arraigning her in court.
Nyakang’o, Ukur Yatani and Julius Muia have yet to respond to EACC’s letter to DPP seeking their arrest.