John Ngumi, a former investment banker

John Ngumi, a former investment banker who is being investigated for allegedly profiting from the contentious sale of Telkom Kenya, has resigned as an independent non-executive director of Kenya Airways, the airline said on Friday.


In the wake of Mr Ngumi's removal, James David Kabereri was appointed as an interim independent non-executive director by Kenya Airways Board of Directors Chairman Michael Joseph until an annual general meeting.


In a statement released on Friday, Mr Joseph said that "The Board announces the resignation of Mr John Ngumi as an independent non-executive director of the company."


After leaving his position as board chairman and director of Safaricom in January, after just five months in power, Ngumi has now submitted his second prominent departure.


Just three weeks ago, Mr Ngumi hurried to court to prevent the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) from bringing charges against him.


Mr Ngumi is said to have informed KQ's board, "My departure has been inspired by my conviction that now that the difficult work of stabilising KQ is beginning to bear fruit, it is the right opportunity to allow others to come in and build on the revolutionary platform that the Board and Management of KQ have created."


"I continue to strongly believe in KQ's strategic and economic significance to Kenya, and I am confident that sooner or later, all Kenyans will acknowledge that KQ is worthy and deserving of the crucial and priceless support it has received and is still receiving from the government."


The investment banker, who has been on the radar of several anti-graft agencies, has a deeper mystery now that he has left the national carrier. Mr. Ngumi's most recent public appearance was before the National Assembly's Finance and National Planning and Communication, Innovation, and Information committees, which are jointly looking into the acquisition of Telkom Kenya for Ksh. 6.2 billion.


However, Mr Ngumi has resisted the state's efforts after going to court and winning orders prohibiting his detention and prosecution for what he described in court documents as the state's determination to go after Uhuru Kenyatta's allies.


Bishop David Oginde-led EACC and DPP Noordin Haji were prohibited from carrying out the arrest or the prosecution, according to a decision reviewed by Citizen Digital, since doing so would endanger Haji's illustrious banking career.

The court issued the following directive to representatives of the EACC and ODPP: "Pending the hearing and determination of this application, the parties in interest, their servants, and agents, including law enforcement, have been prohibited from arresting, detaining, or harassing the applicant."


While the court required him to sign a Ksh. 500,000 anticipatory bail and to personally show up at the EACC for interrogation, it was not immediately clear if he followed those instructions or not.


The purchase of Telkom Kenya is being looked at by the Finance, National Planning, and Communication, Innovation, and Information committees of the National Assembly. Mr Ngumi is said to have played a key role in this transaction by allegedly offering bad advice to the Treasury.


Later, when asked to explain his involvement in advising the government on the purchase, he would testify before the committees. When he first appeared, Mr Ngumi astounded the parliamentarians by claiming that he was paid millions of dollars for his intelligence.


"I got compensated because I was the best in the industry; I had assisted the UK company in making a more cost-effective choice. I'll spend the money when it returns to Kenya, but I'll pay 30% of the cost, stated Ngumi.


The goal is to maximise profits. You go and hire the greatest in the company because it requires the best guidance to avoid blunders.


According to the investigation, in August of last year, the government paid Helios Investors LLP Ksh. 6.2 billion via Jamhuri Holdings Ltd. (JHL), its Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), without the National Assembly's consent.


JHL paid Mr. Ngumi Ksh. 362.1 million ($3.07 million) for his consulting services in the transaction.


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