Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki has been sucked into the National Youth Service (NYS) scandal.
A law firm owned by Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen said Prof Kindiki received Sh500,000 from accounts belonging to one of the firms under investigation.
Hillary Sigei, a managing partner with the law firm, claimed the lawmaker received part of the money drawn from an account operated on behalf of Out of the Box Solutions, which was hired to provide publicity services to Ministry of Devolution.
But the witness could not explain why Kindiki was paid the money in one of a web of transactions that were questioned by MPs as they attempted to establish if the law firm may have been involved in money laundering.
A statement of accounts tabled before the Public Accounts Committee showed the senator received the money on August 25, four days after the law firm received Sh8 million from Out of the Box Solutions.
“I’m not in a position to say what Kindiki was paid for, but I can confirm he was paid,” said Mr Sigei, who refused to produce before the committee a complete list of transactions handled by the law firm since 2013.
He claimed that releasing the information would be a breach of client confidentiality, even as the committee threatened to declare him a hostile witness.
“The professional ethics I operate in does not allow me to reveal such information unless I have express consent from my clients. If I release the statement without their consent it will be professional misconduct. It is against my ethics of practice,” said the witness.
Kindiki becomes the latest politicians to be named in connection with the NYS payments in what is slowly turning into a trap for the high and mighty. Mr Murkomen was sucked into the scandal after he was named by former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru as one of the people that received NYS millions.
Sigei admitted the law firm received a total of Sh15 million but advocates had a difficult time explaining the web of transactions, including reasons for the withdrawal of Sh8 million from the firm’s client account on the same day it was deposited.
The firm later received Sh7 million from Out of the Box Solutions.
MPs questioned a flurry of transactions between the law firm and Kigen and Company Advocates, into whose accounts it wired a total of Sh13 million in successive days.
The lawyer said the money was meant for the purchase of property for his client, asked to provide documents to prove the land transactions, he said they were with the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC), which is investigating the scam.
The witness also failed to explain why the firm he co-owns with Murkomen paid itself Sh500,000 from his clients’ account. The witness denied having any links with another suspect, Josephine Kabura, but admitted having represented businessman Ben Gethi who has also been questioned over his involvement in the scandal.
The committee directed that the law firm tables its bank statements since 2013.
“We have asked for statements from 2013 and you have to provide them. Our decision is that you have to produce those documents. The right of your clients does not supersede the Constitution,” committee Chairman Nicholas Gumbo told Sigei.
We would not be here if Out of the Box solutions had taken money from its pockets and given it to you. We are here because they took money from the people of Kenya,” the Rarieda MP said.