Fully branded First Choice offices at City Plaza. Photo taken in October 2022.

Highlights of Senate Recommendations after Probe on First Choice, Director Judy Chepcirchir

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The Senate Labour and Social Welfare Committee has finally concluded its probe into alleged fraud by First Choice Recruitment Agency.

The agency has been under probe since March 2023 after a group of youth who were seeking foreign jobs in Qatar and other countries, as well as activists led by Kimutai Kirui petitioned the Senate to investigate it.

It is claimed that the agency received millions from over 8,000 youths on a promise to secure them jobs abroad – an end of a bargain they never kept.

As part of their probe, the Committee held a sitting in Eldoret in April and August where they received testimonies from the victims.

They had invited the First Choice Recruitment Agency Director for the session but she did not turn up.

First Choice Recruitment and Consultancy Agency Managing Director Judy Chepchirchir at a past media briefing.

She later attended a session in Nairobi which ended prematurely after she declined to apologize over a letter she wrote, accusing Parliament of being biased.

And as the West Pokot Senator Julius Murgor-led committee concluded its sittings, it has now submitted its report to the Senate, making tough recommendations against the agency and its director.

Among key recommendations the Senate has made is the freezing of bank accounts held by the First Choice Recruitment Agency and its directors until they refund the affected youths.

The Senators also want the passports of the directors of the agency withheld by the DCI alongside their being barred from registering, operating or managing any other recruitment agency.

Senate Labour and Social Welfare Committee chairpersion Julius Murgor during a session at the Uasin Gishu County Assembly in August 2023
Senate Labour and Social Welfare Committee chairperson Julius Murgor during a session at the Uasin Gishu County Assembly in August 2023

They have further recommended the board of the National Employment Authority be disbanded and reconstituted.

Summary of Senate Committee recommendations on First Choice Recruitment Agency investigations

  • The agency is to refund all the petitioners through a banker’s cheque only within one month.
  • The Assets Recovery Agency to repossess the properties owned by First Choice Recruitment and Consultancy Agency Limited, Judy Chepchirchir and Faith Wariga in the event they do not refund all the monies owed to petitioners, and use the funds to refund the petitioners.
  • Ban accounts of the agency and its two directors be frozen by relevant authorities until the monies owed to the victims are fully recovered.
  • Passports of the directors of First Choice Recruitment and Consultancy Agency Limited be withheld by the DCI.
  • Judy Chepchirchir, Faith Wariga and other directors of the agency be barred from registering, opening or managing any other recruitment agency or company.
  • The Board of the National Employment Authority be disbanded and reconstituted.
  • The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection and the National Employment Authority to issue a public notice directing First Choice to cease its recruitment operations with immediate effect.
  • The Ministry of Labor to cease any further operations, recruitment and placement by similar recruitment agencies that the public has raised concerns about.
  • The Commission on Administrative Justice and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) investigate the involvement of political leaders and business people and the conduct of state and public officers with regard to First Choice Recruitment Agency and report to the Senate within three months.
  • The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Office of the Inspector General of Police finalize the investigations on the possible illegalities by the agency and institute criminal proceedings against it and others found culpable and report to the Senate within three months.

The report was tabled on October 17, 2023. It is subject to debate by the whole Senate after which they will vote to either adopt or reject it – with or without amendments.

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