Chase Bank blames EACC for theft of Sh180m

Wednesday March 16 2016

Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) Finance Manager, Benedict Atavachi when he appeared before the National Assembly Public Investment Committee at Parliament buildings on March 1, 2016. Stealing through consultancies is turning out to be the common thread in many of the corruption allegations the Jubilee government is grappling with, the latest being the loss of at least Sh180 million at the YEDF currently being investigated by the National Assembly. PHOTO | ROBERT NGUGI |

Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) Finance Manager, Benedict Atavachi when he appeared before the National Assembly Public Investment Committee at Parliament buildings on March 1, 2016. Stealing through consultancies is turning out to be the common thread in many of the corruption allegations the Jubilee government is grappling with, the latest being the loss of at least Sh180 million at the YEDF currently being investigated by the National Assembly. PHOTO | ROBERT NGUGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JOHN NJAGI
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Chase Bank on Tuesday accused the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission of failing to stop the theft of Sh180 million from the Youth Enterprise Fund.

The bank also blamed the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Financial Reporting Centre for failing to act on its report regarding suspicious activities in the youth fund’s account.

The bank’s director of external and regulatory affairs, Mr Parmain Narikae, who appeared before the Public Investments Committee, said he reported suspicious activities to the three agencies but they did not intervene in time to stop the transactions.

“The Financial Reporting Centre acknowledged receipt of our letter, but as for the EACC and the criminal investigators, to the best of our recollection, the investigations are ongoing.”

POWER PLAY

Committee chairman Adan Keynan said there was an element of “power play” over the centre’s two-month delay in starting investigations and failure by the commission and the criminal investigators to take action on the information.

Mr Narikae said the bank froze the accounts of Quorandum Ltd — at the centre of the youth fund scandal, and demanded evidence, such as invoices and contracts, to justify transfer of money to its account from the fund.

He said the bank also contacted the youth fund’s suspended CEO, Ms Catherine Namuye, who forwarded the same documents provided by Quorandum Ltd, recommending the transfers of Sh115 million to the firm.

After carrying out “due diligence,” the bank allowed the firm to transact with the account, where several withdrawals and transfers amounting to Sh180 million were made, he added.

Mr Keynan asked the Kenya Commercial Bank to provide the names of directors of a company called Gigitex, whose account received Sh120 million  on the authority of Ms Namuye and the youth fund’s chairman, Mr Bruce Odhiambo.

MPs questioned why the bank allowed a change of signatories to the fund’s investment account, making Ms Namuye the sole signatory, on the basis of a letter by Mr Odhiambo without board resolutions.

The EACC, DCI, former Devolution CS Anne Waiguru and former PS Peter Mangiti are expected to appear before the committee.