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MPs baffled how man pocketed Sh346 NYS loot but retained driver’s job

MPs were on Thursday baffled at how a driver received more than Sh346 million, part of the funds looted from the National Youth Service (NYS), but still retained his job.

Despite his immense newly found wealth, Mr John Kago, who told the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee on Thursday that he is a driver at the Kenya Commercial Bank, kept his job, earning Sh15,000 a month.

“I am a driver at KCB, but I am on suspension and half salary due to the NYS scandal in which my name has been mentioned.”

MODEST LOOKS

Mr Kago’s modest looks could easily deceive anyone meeting him for the first time.

He, however, owns a fleet of luxury motor vehicles, including a top-end Range Rover that set him back Sh23 million, a Mercedes Benz, Toyota Land Cruiser and a Toyota Fielder, all which he uses in his car hire business.

His narrative that he started as a taxi driver and saved enough money in a merry-go-round to start importing second hand vehicles from Japan also did not add up, given his massive wealth.

According to a special audit by the Auditor-General, Mr Kago received Sh346 million, almost half the Sh791 million looted from the NYS, from key suspects Josephine Kabura and Ben Gethi.

However, Mr Kago told the committee chaired by Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo that he received only Sh60 million from Ms Kabura and denied ever meeting Mr Gethi either “personally or businesswise”.

HOSTILE WITNESS

Mr Gumbo warned him that he would be declared a hostile witness if he lied to the committee as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission had corroborated information contained in the audit that he received Sh156 million from Ms Kabura and Sh130 million from Mr Gethi.

However, Mr Kago stood his ground and accused a detective who gave the information showing the money was deposited into his accounts at Family Bank and Kenya Commercial Bank, of fabrication.

“It was a conspiracy to fix me,” he said.

Maara MP Kareke Mbiuki wanted to know how Ms Kabura came to “loan” Mr Kago Sh60 million with just a written agreement, indicating he was to repay it at 10 per cent interest per month and signed by a lawyer but without the borrower’s signature.

Mr Kago said he had known Ms Kabura, whose three firms received Sh791 million to build a 3.5km road in Kibera, Nairobi, for one-and-a half-years. He described her as a friend.

‘GREENER PASTURES’

The 58-year-old Kago, who said he left his job as an accounts clerk “in search of greener pastures” as a driver, is alleged to have used the Sh130 million from Mr Gethi to buy property for the businessman’s mother, Ms Charity Wangui.

Mr Gumbo directed Mr Kago to provide the committee with his bank statements from 2013 to establish whether he had indeed received the Sh346 million from the two suspects, details of all his properties and registration numbers of his fleet of vehicles.

The committee had also directed him to surrender the Range Rover to the Assets Recovery Agency as it was bought with proceeds of crime.

Mr Kago said he had not yet surrendered the vehicle and told the PAC that it had been hired out to someone in Nairobi at Sh40,000 per day but was not in use after “reports went out that anyone seen driving the vehicle would be shot dead by police”.

He was given until Monday to hand over the car.