NYS scam suspect: ‘From mere driver to millionaire’ - Daily Nation

NYS scam suspect: ‘From mere driver to millionaire’

Thursday October 20 2016

Businessman Ben Gethi when he appeared before the National Assembly's Public Accounts Committee over the Sh791 million NYS scam on October 4, 2016. His sister has been charged with money laundering. FILE PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Businessman Ben Gethi when he appeared before the National Assembly's Public Accounts Committee over the Sh791 million NYS scam on October 4, 2016. His sister has been charged with money laundering. FILE PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JOHN NJAGI
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The four key suspects yet to be called by a parliamentary committee investigating the Sh791 million National Youth Service scandal, include a man of modest background.

Mr John Kago, who according to evidence presented before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had handled more than Sh100 million of the loot from the NYS, is described as a mere driver. He is now being mentioned among some big names, including former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru and former Principal Secretary Peter Mangiti.

Businesswoman Josephine Kabura is also said to have benefited from millions of shillings earned irregularly.

PAC Vice-Chairman Jackson Rop on Wednesday said the four suspects are expected to appear before the committee as it aims to complete its investigations on the special audit by Auditor-General Edward Ouko into the scandal, and table the report in the National Assembly before it goes on its long recess next week.

This means that all the four suspects will have to be slotted in next week so that the committee can burn the midnight oil and be able to table its report before breaking for the December holidays. “We are at the tail end of concluding our investigations once we have invited the four main suspects to appear before the committee to give evidence,” he said.

ESTATE AGENT

Another suspect, Mr Ben Gethi, is said to have transferred more than Sh100 million to Mr Kago’s account, who acted as an estate agent, and reportedly purchased top end properties in the name of Mr Gethi’s mother, Ms Charity Wangui.

Some witnesses who appeared before the committee said Mr Kago was a driver to Mr Gethi, but he also acted as a broker in purchasing property using the proceedings from the scam as they sought to launder the stolen funds.

Other sources indicate that he was a news anchor at a public broadcaster, whose lifestyle changed suddenly before he was fired after his name started being mentioned in the scandal.

Mr Rop said Mr Kago, who was reported to have sent Sh40 million to lawyer Patrick Ogolla, to purchase a property on his behalf, is a witness of interest as the committee seeks to conclude its proceedings.

“He started driving to work a brand new Toyota V8, yet he was just a news anchor which raised quite some eyebrows. He was fired when his name was mentioned in connection with the scandal,” said a former colleague who asked not to be named.

Other witnesses who appeared before the committee described Mr Kago as a driver to Mr Gethi, but who also acted as a broker in purchasing property using the proceedings from the scam, as they sought to launder the stolen funds.

Mr Rop said Mr Kago, who was reported to have sent Sh40 million to lawyer Patrick Ogolla, to purchase a property on his behalf, was a witness of interest as the committee seeks to conclude its proceedings.

So far Ms Waiguru, Ms Kabura, Dr Mangiti and Mr Kago, among other suspects have been adversely mentioned in connection with the scandal, and are expected to shed light on how the devious scheme was hatched even as scope of investigation so far indicate up to Sh5 billion may have been lost through corruption.