12 June 2018

Kenya: House Team to Quiz Sicily Kariuki, Margaret Kobia Over Sh9bn NYS Scam

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki and her Public Service colleague, Margaret Kobia, will appear before MPs on Tuesday to shed light on what they know about the loss of Sh9 billion at the National Youth Service.

The two will be appearing before National Assembly's Public Accounts Committee over the matter that dates back to 2016 when Ms Kariuki was the CS before moving to her current docket.

Prof Kobia was vetted and appointed to the docket early this year following the reorganisation of the Cabinet by President Kenyatta after he won the 2017 election.

CHARGED IN COURT

Already Public Service and Youth Principal Secretary Lilian Mbogo, NYS director-general Richard Ndubai, at least 23 public officials and business entities that had dealings with NYS have been charged in court.

They have been charged on the basis of the evidence gathered so far on the theft of Sh468 million, which is part of the Sh9 billion under investigations.

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On Monday, PAC chairman Opiyo Wandayi confirmed that the committee is expecting to have a session with two Cabinet Secretaries.

"We are expecting to have a routine meeting with them considering that we had invited them before but they were not able to appear because of their ministerial responsibilities," Mr Wandayi said.

WHAT WENT WRONG

The PAC chairman said the committee would be seeking to find out what went wrong.

Ms Mbogo, who appeared before the watchdog committee a fortnight ago, noted that NYS could not have lost money of such magnitude, arguing this could have crippled the agency's operations.

"The loss of Sh9 billion as reported in the media would mean that NYS is technically closed. Given the kind of fear the auditor general is instilling in us, he will not have missed to flag the alleged loss," Ms Mbogo told the committee.

She produced auditor general Edward Ouko's report for the ministry's accounts of 2016/17 to prove her case even as she called on relevant officers at the ministry and NYS to take individual responsibility for the suspect payments made to companies that may have supplied nothing.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

The report is yet to be tabled in the National Assembly.

"Key audit matters are those matters that in my professional judgment are of most significance in the audit of the financial statements. I have determined that there are no key audit matters to communicate in my report," Mr Ouko says in the report.

Majority of the payments made were claims of pending bills inherited from the previous financial years.

The appearance of the CSs comes as pressure mounts on Ms Kariuki to take political responsibility as happened with former Devolution CS Anne

Waiguru over the Sh791 million scandal at the NYS, then a department at the ministry before it was moved to Public Service.

Ms Waiguru, now Kirinyaga governor stepped aside to pave way for investigations by the Ethics and Anti- Corruption Commission.

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