, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 9 – It is now emerging that an official at the Registrar of Companies attempted to conceal details of the directors of firms that have been adversely mentioned in corruption claims at the Water Ministry.
The officer wrote to the Parliamentary Committee on Lands and Natural Resources misleading them that files of the companies whose details the MPs had requested could not be traced.
Registrar General at the State Law Office Bernice Gachegu told the committee on Thursday that the unnamed officer is now under disciplinary action.
“I am averse to missing files and records particularly now that we have scanned our records. At my level I consider it a disciplinary matter when files are missing,” she affirmed.
“As you can see I am here with the acting head of the companies’ registry,” said Ms Gachego.
The Registrar General said that the officer by-passed laid down protocol by writing directly to Parliament without seeking her approval.
“I would never have allowed a letter to come to parliament to say that records were missing,” she said.
Committee Chairman Mutava Musyimi expressed dismay on the on goings.
“I am glad to here that you will be taking disciplinary action against the officer. It is sad that the officer has the guts to write to Parliament that he has no information the representatives of the people want,” he said.
Ms Gachego appeared before the committee on Thursday and outlined the details of 12 companies that have had contractual agreements with the Water Ministry.
These include Kenmas Contractors and Supplies Limited, Gincom Contractors Limited, Road Vision Holdings, Ebrahims Mohamed Kassam, Sufways and G.L. William and Timetrax Limited.
Others include Kat Michaels Consulting, Ebrahims Mohamed Kassam General Contractors, Ntheca Enteprises, Afri Trade and Pressure Point Systems.
The committee is probing allegations that millions of public funds have been misappropriated at the Water Ministry in construction of five water dams across the country and the supply of other items and services to the Water and Irrigation Ministry.
Former Water Assistant Minister Mwangi Kiunjuri last month questioned the associations of some of these companies with Water Minister Charity Ngilu. He singled out the companies as some that had been mentioned adversely and accused of inflating prices of commodities they supplied to the government.
It is alleged that some of the directors of the companies are closely associated with Ms Ngilu including close family members raising questions o possible nepotism in securing contracts.
Mr Kiunjuri has put his former boss on the defence accusing her of failing in her responsibility.
During the Thursday meeting it however emerged that it could be a daunting task to unmask the real owners of the companies since the law does not require directors of companies to produce their identity cards while registering their companies.
Ms Gachego said that the country relies on the 1947 Companies’ Act that does not require persons registering companies to produce Identity Cards.
The Registrar General said the government is planning on amending the Companies Act to demand that persons registering companies prove their identity
The committee is now studying a report presented by Water Permanent Secretary David Stower on the ongoing investigations.