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MPs halt Telkom-Airtel merger over fraud claims

By Seth Onyango
Friday, November 8th, 2019
Telkom Kenya and Airtel

Parliament has halted the planned merger of Telkom Kenya and Airtel after claims that assets belonging to the partly-owned State corporation were being fraudulently liquidated.

It comes even as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) appeared to backpedal on an earlier decision declaring Telkom Kenya a private firm, paving the way for its take up.

EACC had reportedly cleared Telkom Kenya and Airtel to tie-up, after listing the former as a private company and suspended investigation into merger since it was a commercial agreement.

But it has emerged that billions of shillings worth of assets at Telkom were being disposed and dozens of staff laid off even before the expected merger was finalised.

Legislators in the Parliamentary Public Investments Committee (PIC) questioned how such an illegality was happening before the National Assembly gives nod to the merger.

Rogue elements

PIC chairman Moitalel ole Kenta read mischief into activities at the struggling telco asserting rogue elements had hijacked the process for personal gain.

On the spot is EACC which is accused of issuing two conflicting letters that assumedly cleared Telkom and Airtel to weave.

“We are seeing two letters, one in August that allows the merger to go ahead and the other one in October which states procedure must be followed,” said Kenta.

He gave the anti-graft agency three weeks to investigate claims on the sale of Telkom assets and sacking of employees. Also, EACC has been given three months to complete investigations into the merger.           

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