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Mucheru risks MPs’ sanctions on Telkom Kenya restructuring

Tuesday June 18 2019

Joe Mucheru

ICT minister Joe Mucheru. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

EDWIN MUTAI
By EDWIN MUTAI
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House team irked by State’s apparent overlooking of Parliament resolution on telco five years ago

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru risks being sanctioned by Parliament after he failed to explain why a House resolution on Telkom Kenya was not implemented.

The House had asked the government to reconsider privatisation of Telkom Kenya Limited, recapitalisation and restructuring agreement, which has not been effected five years down the line.

Mr Mucheru angered the MPs when he informed them that his ministry does not have any say on the telecommunications firm.

Mr Ole Kenta and committee members Richard Onyonka, Nixon Korir, Simba Arati and Owen Baiya accused Mr Mucheru of misleading MPs yet an executive order issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2018 placed Telkom Kenya under the Ministry of ICT.

On Tuesday, Mr Mucheru clashed with the committee on Implementation of House Resolutions when he said Telkom Kenya is a privately owned company whose majority shareholder is Jamuhuri Holdings, with 60 per cent stake.

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Mr Mucheru said the government, through the Treasury, holds only 40 per cent of shares through the Investments Secretary.

“A company ceases to be a State corporation when it has less shareholding. The investment secretary or the CS Treasury is competent to provide the information that you need. I am not able to give you information relating to the board of a privately held company,” Mr Mucheru said.

Jamuhuri Holdings

Asked to disclose the real people behind Telkom Kenya’s majority shareholder Jamuhuri Holdings, Mr Mucheru asked the MPs to direct the question to the Treasury.

“I don’t know the owners of Jamuhuri Holdings. That can only be given to you by the National Treasury, who are responsible for government shareholding in Telkom,” Mr Mucheru said.

“I have no answers as to whether the right procedures were followed in the privatisation of Telkom Kenya,” Mr Mucheru added.

“You are hostile to this committee. I rule that you provide all the information that we have asked you within the next 14 days. The committee will expect written submissions from you within 14 days. If not, you will be the first CS to face sanctions on the floor of the House,” Mr Ole Kenta ruled.

The team had summoned Mr Mucheru to explain why the ministry had failed to implemented a 2014 recommendation of the Public Investments Committee (PIC) on recapitalisation and balance sheet restructuring of Telkom Kenya.

The PIC said dilution of government shareholding in Telkom Kenya was in breach of a licence agreement since the regulator, CCK, did not approve of it.