Former ICT CS Joe Mucheru respond to queries when they appeared before the the National Assembly Joint-Sitting of the Departmental Committee on Inquiry into Sh6 billion buyout of Telkom Kenya Ltd. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Former ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has told Parliament that buying back Telkom Kenya was one of the best decisions done by the previous administration.

Mucheru said, although the company was under the National Treasury and he was not involved in the transactions directly, it was important for the government to control its data centres and cable loading stations.

"I fully support the government owning Telkom Kenya 100 per cent since it is very important for it controlling its national security communication infrastructure since even in other jurisdictions governments have their own internal secure networks," he said.

Mucheru spoke before the joint National Assembly Finance and Planning, and Information Communication and Innovation committees at Parliament Buildings on Tuesday.

Helios Investments Partners Chief Finance Officer Paul Cunningham told MPs that the Sh6 billion transaction with the government was above board, with the organisation having investment more than Sh300 billion in over 30 countries.

Cunningham, who was accompanied by two lawyers, was put to task to explain why he claimed that he had never met any officials from Telkom Kenya yet some of them were listed in Jamhuri Holdings, which was used to deal with the government.

He told the committee that he was a British national. He said their due diligence established that Telkom Kenya was a sleeping giant.

"I would like to inform Parliament that Helios Investment Partners had started engaging the government of Kenya more than one year before the financial transaction was carried out last year. I can therefore say that it was not hurried as it has been claimed," he said.

Cunningham was at pains to explain that he had never met Telkom Chairman Eddy Njoroge who had been appointed as Helios and Jamhuri nominee, saying that he was not directly involved in the decision since they have several portfolio companies.

He said former President Uhuru Kenyatta was not a shareholder in Jamhuri Holdings and there was no legal basis for their account in Mauritius to be frozen.

National Assembly Finance and Planning Committee Chairperson Kuria Kimani (Molo) gave Cunningham seven days to present some crucial documents about the transactions carried out between his company and the government.

"We are yet to be convinced that it is necessary for the government to acquire institutions that can be run privately, we need to understand the urgency of this transaction between the government of Kenya and Helios Investments Partners," said Kimani.

The Information, Communication and Innovation Committee Chairman John Kiarie (Dagoretti South) said that they were not out to victimise anyone, but wanted Kenyans should know if they got value for their money.

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