NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 1 – Businesswoman Josephine Kabura, a key witness in the National Youth Service (NYS) scandal, aroused emotions and angered members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) who accused her of lying and failing to respond straight to questions from the members.
It was during the heated grilling session on Tuesday that members heard that Kabura had registered 20 companies in one month and she ran all of them single-handedly.
“You cannot tell us that you woke up one day in the month of October, registered 20 companies, started doing hundreds of millions of business with those companies that you registered you cannot even tell us you had one single employee other than yourself, your accounts here were reading Sh2, 000 balances until you started thirties, forties and hundreds of millions from NYS,” committee member queried.
Kabura who became a public figure for all the wrong reasons also told the members that her business relations with NYS were through former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Ann Waiguru, who was her friend.
She also told the committee that her companies had not been pre-qualified and that the tenders she got were not open tenders.
In the presence of her lawyer, Kabura had it rough to explain how she suddenly rose to become the sole winner of big NYS contracts to the extent that she would withdraw even Sh100 million from a bank and carry it in cash.
What shocked the committee however was how she would carry so much money in cash and without any security accompanying her.
“How were you able to carry Sh100 million in cash? It is like carrying two bags of cement, unless you are very acrobatic, how would you carry five jericans of water at once and alone?” the committee members repeatedly probed Kabura.
“Her Majesty Lady Kabura,” one of the members sarcastically asked; “Could you kindly demonstrate to us how you carried Sh52 million from the bank to the quarry.”
“I was carrying the money using bags. I would carry a bag at ago,” she responded explaining that the bags would fit between Sh10 to Sh20 million.
She said she paid the cash money at the quarry but said it was not receipted.
Though she said the quarry was in Ongata Rongai, she could not tell the committee who she paid the money to but to the anger of the already irritated PAC members who accused her for taking them for granted and taking the scandal lightly.
PAC Chair Nicholas Gumbo at some point couldn’t maintain his cool when Kabura failed to respond to even the simplest questions that any business owner would provide an answer.
“You either give us factual information or we say that you lied under oath and refer that to relevant government agencies to deal with it. I cannot be sitting here for four hours – who are you taking for fools here, you have to answer this question, were you acting for somebody? Unless you produce the receipts I will put to you that you never paid a cent for the materials in Ongata Rongai, you never transported a single material because you don’t have proof,” he warned.
On several occasions, Kabura was warned against lying and taking the committee in a ‘merry-go-round’ to evade questions and protect people named in the NYS scandal that led to the loss of Sh1.6billion.
Though Kabura maintained that she did not steal any money and that she supplied what she was supposed to, the members were quite disgusted by answers they deemed to be lies.
“Josephine, you did not supply anything, not even a pebble, not even a grain of sand leave alone air,” Kabura was tasked.
But she could not produce properly signed bills or receipts.
The committee also heard that Kabura despite getting the big tenders, she did not submit any tax returns to the Kenya Revenue Authority.
On several occasions, she risked being declared a hostile witness also for failing to appear before the committee despite several summons.
It was PAC’s conclusion that Kabura received Sh1.6 billion to supply materials to NYS but failed to do so.