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Hairdresser to millionaire: The changing faces of Josephine Kabura

Far from her description by Former Devolution secretary Ms Anne Waiguru as a “mere hairdresser”, Ms Josephine Kabura Irungu told a parliamentary committee that she has a diploma and higher diploma in information technology and worked briefly for Kenya Data Networks before going full-time into “doing business” with the government.

Ms Kabura described Ms Waiguru as a friend, saying she introduced her to National Youth Service (NYS) in 2013, after which she won tenders worth millions of shillings after starting out with only Sh2,000 in her account.

INEXPERIENCE

During her appearance before the committee on Tuesday, she exhibited a calmness that belied her relative youth and presumed inexperience.

Ms Kabura played a game of selective amnesia, stonewalling and evasiveness that reduced members of Parliament to impotent fury.

The businesswoman initially said she could not remember who introduced her to the NYS, or even who alerted her to business opportunities at the service, before naming former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru as her source.

In a previous affidavit, Ms Kabura had said that Ms Waiguru helped her to register the companies she used to do business with the NYS.

Ms Waiguru also gave her specific instructions to open bank accounts for them at Family Bank, she said.

20 COMPANIES

Ms Kabura is said to have fraudulently received over Sh1.8 billion from the NYS through her companies. She operated approximately 20 companies which received the money in fraudulent circumstances. She was set to receive another Sh695.4 million from the NYS but the payment was stopped.

In most of the cases, the companies were barely two months old, had no prior dealings with NYS, were not pre-qualified, were dealing in goods and services for which they were not officially registered and were all owned by Ms Kabura.

Throughout the interview on Tuesday, she kept her cool, taking time to think her responses over and consulting her lawyer.

It did not help matters that the MPs, by contrast, appeared ill-prepared, lacked a structure for questioning the witness and at times contradicted one another.