Following yet another KSh 10.5 billion National Youth Service (NYS) scandal, on Monday May 14, President Uhuru Kenyatta summoned to his office Devolution Cabinet Secretary (CS) Eugene Wamalwa to help him understand where the alleged money went.
Senior officials in the Ministry of Devolution and Planning under which the NYS, a youth empowerment programme, falls are at the same time expected to appear before the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to shed light on the fresh looting.
According to reports on Tuesday, May 15, the new NYS scandal allegedly involved 36 ghost companies. Apparently, preliminary investigations by the the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and other agencies in 2017 revealed that millions of taxpayers cash was wired to the fictitious suppliers.
Resembling the 2015 heist, the new multi-billion theft was also characterized by manipulation of the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS), an automated system that is supposed to enhance efficiency in planning, budgeting, procurement, expenditure management and reporting in the national and county governments.
Several millions of taxpayers hard-earned money was allegedly siphoned from the NYS coffers to personal accounts of individuals through manipulation of the IFMIS.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji, had earlier indicated the initial investigation at the NYS had netted several suspects including the big fish.
“Many people are involved in this matter. Some of them are very senior government officials,” Haji said.
Haji’s version of the story was that the new theft scandal, which could be the biggest ever in the history of NYS, was a well orchestrated and sophisticated looting spree that spanned three years.
Not only was the IFMIS manipulated , but also alleged gross and deliberate violation of procurement laws and processes in payment of pending bills.
The DPP will be expected to forward names of the individuals implicated in the fraud to the DCI for prosecution.
It would be interesting to see if those found guilty will be locked up this time, especially after Uhuru repeatedly issued stern warnings that each and every government official named in graft would carry his or her own cross.
This, however, was not the first time the president was talking tough on graft. He did it during his first term but people still got away with theft of taxpayers money.
Kenyans have hardly forgotten about the infamous KSh 791 million NYS graft scandal in which many high ranking state officials, including Kirinyaga County Governor Anne Waiguru who was then the Devolution CS, were extensively mentioned.
Surprisingly, all the accused, among them 23 suspects, were eventually set free after protracted court battles on grounds that there was no sufficient evidence.
Business woman Josephine Kabura who was featured prominently in the 2015 heist was one of those who were acquitted.