A former ally of retired President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday struggled to defend the $3.07 million payout by Jamhuri Holdings Limited (JHL) for his assistance in the government’s acquisition of Telkom Kenya Limited for Sh6.2 billion.
Between April 1, 2022, when the government kicked off the process of acquiring Telkom Kenya Limited, and September 20, 2022, when the sale was completed, Mr John Ngumi got the equivalent of about Sh415 million over a five-month period.
As a result, Mr Ngumi, became the transaction’s single largest benefactor. JHL received more than $1 million, Anjarwalla and Company Advocates received Sh54 million, and Investment Bank while Telkom staff took home $1 million, each.
The owner of Eagle Africa Capital Partners Limited told the joint session of the Finance, National Planning, and Communication, Innovation, and Information Committees, that he deserved to be paid $10 million.
The committee chair, Molo MP Kimani Kuria, asserted that he was unable to come up with a reasonable justification for the sum Mr Ngumi received.
“So, what kind of skills did you bring to this transaction that made you get paid this amount of money in five months? I am really struggling to understand,” noted Mr Kuria.
The committee chair denoted that Mr Ngumi only got involved after Helios Investors Chief Finance Officer Paul Cunningham disclosed the amount the Eagle Africa Capital Partners owner received.
“In this transaction, Mr Ngumi had not appeared anywhere whether by virtue of the advice he gave, until Mr Cunningharm made the revelations,” said Mr Kuria.
Mr Ngumi had stated during the joint hearing of the two House committees that JHL required expert counsel before making any investments because it could not afford to make mistakes.
“I was paid the money because I was the best in the business. They valued the advice I gave them and it was a willing buyer willing seller,” he said.
He added: “Helios believes that I am worth the amount that I was paid and I am proud to say I convinced them to sell their 60 per cent shareholding in Telkom Kenya to the government at $1 million.”
The former regime paid Helios Investors LLP Sh6.2 billion in August of last year via JHL, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), without the approval of Parliament.
The payment was to be regularized through Supplementary Budget I for the 2022/23 financial year.