Mobile services provider Safaricom has distanced itself from the reported loss of Sh3 billion meant for National Youth Service cohorts, saying it had no role determining beneficiaries.
The company's chief executive officer Bob Collymore, who appeared before the National Assembly’s public accounts committee, told the team the firm had a contract with the National Bank of Kenya (NBK) and not the youth agency.
“We entered into a contract with the NBK for bulk disbursement in 2011, and the role of Safaricom through M-Pesa, was to provide an online platform where the bank could disburse the funds to multiple recipients,” he said.
According to Mr Collymore, the bank, whose top managers appeared earlier before the committee but requested to be heard in camera over the same issue, provided the funds and the mobile services provider provided a platform through which the bank could enter mobile phone numbers of intended recipients for efficiency.
He, however, could not state the amount of commission paid by the bank for facilitating payment for over 18,000 cohorts hired by the agency to undertake its projects such as dam, road construction, and slum upgrading across the country.
He said he would furnish the team with the information within a week as well as a report of the recipients of the funds, through verifying their mobile phone numbers and national identity card numbers, to ascertain if they were registered holders of M-Pesa accounts.
According to a report by the Auditor-General, there were several discrepancies, with some of the recipients having registered a single mobile line using two different identity cards, and others registering similar multiple M-Pesa accounts using the same identity card.
Committee chairman Nicholas Gumbo said the mobile phone records used to pay the over 18,000 beneficiaries were fictitious, and directed Safaricom to verify whether the M-Pesa account holders said to have been paid were the actual beneficiaries.