Telkom purchase: Government inherited $291.12M in loans, probe reveals

An ongoing probe into the government’s purchase of Telkom Kenya has revealed that the government inherited $291.12 million or KES 34.18 billion in loans to be paid for the telecommunications company besides the 60 percent share purchase.

In a letter dated August 19, former Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani indicated that the government had resolved to purchase 60 percent shares of Telkom Kenya from Jamhuri Holdings Limited (JHL) owned by Helios Investment Partners at a cost of KES 6.091 billion.

Yatani further stated that the government had agreed to take over outstanding loans advanced by JHL to Telkom Kenya as well as the interests accrued totaling $51.19 million or about KES 6.12 billion.

The government also agreed to take up all rights and obligations relating to shareholder loans that JHL took over from Orange East Africa, SA, amounting to USD 199,699,744 together with accrued interest amounting to USD 40,238,948 totaling USD 239,938,692 or KES 28.51 billion.

The two parties had made payment for the consideration of the purchase of shares and outstanding loans and accrued interest for loans advanced to TKL by JHL, and had obtained the necessary government approvals including the Cabinet and Attorney General’s clearance to execute the legal documents and approval by the Communication Authority and Competition Authority of Kenya.

“The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to request you to convene a Board of Directors meeting to pass the necessary resolutions to facilitate the completion of this transaction,” said Yatani.  

However, last week, Solicitor General Ken Ogeto revealed that Helios Investment Partners, which is registered in the Cayman Islands and Mauritius, remains the majority shareholder in Telkom Kenya seven months after the purchase.

The government was supposed to take full ownership, but despite paying for full ownership, it only has 37.9 percent while Jamhuri Holdings Limited retains 56 percent.

The probe into the purchase, done just four days before the August 2022 polls, by the Joint Sitting of the Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning, and Committee on Communication, Information, and Innovation is still ongoing.

The committee has summoned former CS Ukur Yatani and former Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua to answer questions on the same takeover.

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