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MPs slap caveat on posh house bought with stolen Youth Fund money

MPs on Wednesday put a caveat on a Sh48 million home in Lavington, Nairobi, suspected to have been bought with money stolen from the youth fund.

They ordered that the house, which is under construction, should not change hands because they suspect it was bought using part of the Sh180 million paid out illegally by the Youth Enterprise Development Fund.

The house was bought by Mr Mukuria Ngamau, the managing director of Quorandum Ltd, which was paid Sh180 million by the youth fund for ICT services which were not delivered.

It was bought from Duchess Park, a real estate developer.

“The Asset Recovery Agency should ensure the property does not change hands to protect public interest.

‘‘The directors of Duchess Park will also be held liable should the property change hands from Quorandum Ltd to a third party,” said Public Investments Committee chairman Adan Keynan.

FICTITIOUS CONSULTANCY

Should investigations confirm that the firm was paid the Sh180 million for fictitious consultancy services, the house could revert to the State and be sold to recover the funds.

On Wednesday, Duchess Park general manager William Onyango told the committee he advertised the property on Ethuru Road in Lavington, in the newspapers and also at a housing exhibition in Nairobi, and that Mr Ngamau expressed interest and paid Sh48 million in three instalments.

MPs questioned Mr Onyango on why the payment of such a colossal sum within such a short period did not raise suspicions about the source of the funds.

The committee vice chairman, Mr Kimani Ichung’wa, questioned the legality of the deal, which was concluded without any lawyer representing Quorandum Ltd.

“You must be very lucky for a client to pay you Sh48 million, without an agreement, a lawyer or guarantee. Your relationship with the client seems to be a special one,” he said.

Mr Keynan also questioned whether the Real Estate firm was related with Quorandum Ltd, but Mr Onyango said Mr Ngamau was not one of the directors.

MONEY LAUNDERING

The purchase of high-end properties has emerged as a money laundering avenue in some of the mega scandals that have rocked key State agencies.

A lawyer representing Duchess Park, Ms Muthoni Kamau said it was allowed in law for a buyer to involve a lawyer at the point when the property is registered, a position that Mr Keynan rejected, insisting it was against provisions laid out by the Law Society of Kenya.

Funyula MP Paul Otuoma cited a contradiction in the purchase documents drawn by Quorandum and what had been advertised by Duchess Park, with the former stating it was for buying an office block and the latter a residential unit.

During the hearings, it emerged Quorandum Ltd had sub-contracted the construction of four court blocks for the judiciary in Bomet, Othaya, Marimanti and Wang’uru, for Sh18 million to another firm, Great Lakes Forwaders Ltd.

Quorandum Ltd is at the centre of investigations into the theft of Sh180 million youth fund money, with MPs saying it was clear the property was purchased with proceeds of crime.