Pyramid cartels behind shady Sh18bn EGMS tender, MPs told

Pyramid scheme cartels accused of orchestrating a money-minting scandal more than a decade ago were behind the awarding of a tender worth Sh17.7 billion by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to a Swiss firm, MPs were told yesterday.

Consumer Federation of Kenya Secretary General Stephen Mutoro told the Public Investment Committee that brains behind the 2005 pyramid scheme where Kenyans lost billions were again at work during the awarding of the Excisable Goods Management System tender said to have been approved irregularly.

The committee chaired by Eldas MP Aden Keynan is investigating how KRA awarded the tender without following due procedure.

Mr Mutoro who appeared by the committee as a witness submitted that claimed that KRA procured EGMS system from SICPA Kenya Ltd, a subsidiary of a Swiss firm to print Excise Duty without any due diligence.

He alleged that the deal was a scheme by KRA officials to defraud the taxpayer.

COFEK now wants Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner-General John Njiraini to vacate office for failing to carry out due diligence by awarding a tender to a questionable company.

“Mr Njiraini should be held responsible for the contract. In another world, the Commissioner-General would have resigned a long time ago because of overseeing this scandal,” he said.

The lobby group said Njiraini abetted corruption by allowing his officials not to consider basis procurement procedures.

“It is sad to note that the directors of the SICPA Kenya Ltd are the same that looted millions of shillings from unsuspecting Kenyans back in 2015, this committee should not allow these to go unpunished,” he pleaded adding that the contract did not represent value for taxpayers’ money.

 

Keynan confirmed the claims by the witness that the committee too, had evidence that two directors of the Swiss company, SICPA Security Solutions SA Limited were involved in the infamous pyramid scheme.

When he appeared before the committee yesterday, the man who oversaw the negotiations of the award of the contract to SICPA Kenya Ltd, a subsidiary of a Swiss firm, Caxton Masudi who was the head of delegation, said the firm was represented by two Kenyans.

He however did not reveal their names.

“What I can only remember is that we had two Africans in the team that met us for negotiations,” Masudi said.

“Can you remember their names,” committee Vice Chairman Kimani Ichung’wa asked.

Masudi maintained he could not remember the names.

But when pressed further by Ichung’wa who asked; “Do you remember anyone by the name Brian Lingale and Christopher Esendi?”

“Yes, I can remember the two had our indigenous names,”Masudi responded.

He explained Brian Lingale and Christopher Esendi appeared for SICPA during the negotiations but said he had no prior information about them.

The tender in question revolves around Excise Goods Management System meant to enable KRA monitor output of locally-manufactured goods.

It was awarded a year and a half into an existing contract of Sh2.28 billion.

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