Detectives are investigating alleged massive fraud at Telkom Kenya in which the corporation has been losing more than Sh300 million (USD4.1 million) every month. Police have confirmed that the investigation targets senior managers and a former top official of Telkom after it emerged that fraudsters within the corporation have been sending over Sh120 million monthly to an overseas account for non-existent international connectivity. The fraud, police say, has been made possible through illegal connections and transfer of international connectivity fees to foreign accounts.

Sources close to the investigations said that the detectives would concentrate on a Sh420 million monthly loss the corporation incurred until early this year when the fraud was discovered. A team of officers from the CID headquarters visited Teleposta building along Kenyatta Avenue in Nairobi and began investigations into the fraud a week ago. The team, from the Economic and Commercial Crimes Unit, is led by the officer-in-charge, Iregi Ngatia. It has collected evidence implicating several senior managers, a police officer attached to the corporation and other junior employees.

A source privy to the investigations said that, so far, the detectives have established that the corporation has been losing Sh300 million a month in illegal telephone connections through which callers make international calls at a fraction of the official cost.

"This is a massive investigation and the detectives have a big job to do. We hope they will gather enough evidence to implicate those responsible for defrauding Kenyans of the millions of shillings lost by the corporation," a police officer who did not want to be named said. The Telkom managing director, Sammy Kirui, last week confirmed that detectives had started investigations into some transactions. But he could not tell the amount involved.

"I know there is an ongoing investigation internally. It is not possible to put a figure to it but our internal investigations have been trying to find out what is happening. I can confirm that police are investigating. When I came in I tried to plug the revenue leakages and this we found is mostly through illegal connections. We have also been conducting an audit of our systems," Kirui said.

The Nation