First Choice Recruitment agency associated with Judith Jepchirchir is not registered with the National Employment Authority (NEA), Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Florence Bore disclosed yesterday.
Consequently, Kenya Kwanza senators directed Bore to put out an advert and stop Jepchirchir from operating the recruitment agency.
The Senators also questioned the powerful individual behind Jepchirchir, who they termed as arrogant, ‘full of herself ‘and is the clear definition and face of impunity in the current constitutional dispensation.
Appearing before Senate’s Labour and Social Welfare Committee in a session chaired by nominated lawmaker George Mbugua (vice-chair), Bore volunteered to mediate between Jepchirchir and the victims who claim to have been conned millions of shillings in payments they made to study abroad.
One of the victims told the committee that she paid the agency Sh437,000 to secure a scholarship to study in Poland, an offer that never materialised.
“I want to find a way of how the victims can be refunded their money. Sh437,000 is a lot of money. Allow me to handle the two parties,” Bore pleaded.
The Minister said that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) is seized of the matter and they are doing their investigations, adding that the records available in the Ministry show First Choice is not registered. “We have not registered the company and the company is not uploaded on NEA website,” she said.
However, the victims declined the offer charging Jepchirchir has been seen with the CS in various public functions and could not be trusted with mediating the process.
Through the lead petitioner and Eldoret-based human rights activist Kimutai Kirui, the victims alluded that allowing Ms Bore to mediate with Jepchirchir is akin to handing ‘sheep to the jaws of a hungry lioness’.
“We have gone to the Labour Ministry and NEA offices in Eldoret and even written letters to the CS. The people of Uasin Gishu has very little confidence in the Ministry of Labour. Allowing the CS to mediate will be liking handing the victims to the jaws of a lioness,” said Kirui.
He went on: “Judy is not willing to pay the petitioners their money. The petitioners want their money back. They want justice.”
Senators Mbugua, Alex Mudigi (Embu), Mohammed Faki (Mombasa), Miraj Abdulahi (nominated) and Gloria Orwoba (nominated) questioned why despite numerous reports to the Police about the dealings of Jepchirchir she has not been arrested and arraigned in court. The legislators charged that Jepchirchir is being treated with child’s gloves as she behaves like someone above the law.
“The company is being seen to be given room to do what they want. The director has been going around intimidating the victims. We are dealing with a rogue client, very arrogant and someone who believes she can run all the government agencies,” Mbugua charged.
“How comes this person has not been arrested? It is like the police system is not there to safeguard Kenyans. There is evidence that the recruitment agency is still operating even after the suspension. What system does the Ministry have to reign in on this agency?” said Orwoba. Miraj on her part claimed that the Jepchirchir lied to the Senate that she was going to refund the victims and upto to date, she has not refunded any single cent to the victims.