Youth Fund scandal puts Waiguru back in the hot seat

March 22, 2016 6:37 pm
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Waiguru, who is scheduled to appear before the committee on Thursday, was accused by Mangiti of making an "untenable" request of him in regard to the lost funds/FILE
Waiguru, who is scheduled to appear before the committee on Thursday, was accused by Mangiti of making an “untenable” request of him in regard to the lost funds/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 22 – Former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru is back in the spotlight after MPs sought to know from the State Corporations Advisory Committee if she failed to act on their warnings over how the Youth Enterprise Fund Board was conducting its business.

Her former deputy Peter Mangiti also brought her up before the MPs when it was his turn to appear before the Public Investments Committee of the National Assembly on Tuesday to respond to questions raised over the suspected theft of Sh180 million from the Fund.

Waiguru, who is scheduled to appear before the committee on Thursday, was accused by Mangiti of making an “untenable” request of him in regard to the lost funds.

He said she ordered an administrative report from the suspended CEO of the Fund, Catherine Namuye, on the stolen funds when he recommended that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission be brought in to investigate.

“I would not know what value that admin report would have given, given that certain administrative decisions had been made and that an independent investigative agency had been called in. So I don’t know if it was for hand over to them but I really do not want to speculate.”

He denied any knowledge of fraudulent goings-on at the Fund contrary to the State Corporations Advisory Committee’s testimony that it had raised several red flags over the conduct of the Board whose Chairman, Bruce Odhiambo, it said acted beyond his powers as a non-executive member of the Board.

“This board should be held collectively accountable for what has happened in this institution,” the advisory committee’s immediate former Secretary Jane Mugambi told the Public Investments Committee which is chaired by Eldas MP Aden Keynan.

The Advisory Committee’s Head of Governance Simon Indimuli said the Board acted in error when it invested Sh400 million of the Fund’s surplus in a Fixed Deposit Account with Chase Bank in contravention of a 2002 Circular from Treasury which stipulated that any surplus should go into Treasury bills or bonds.

A position which Mangiti supported when he said it was, “highly irregular,” for surplus public funds to be, “reploughed,” into the affected institutions; the aforementioned Sh180 million having been withdrawn under the guise of payments.

Unlike the Advisory Committee however, he held that the entire Youth Enterprise Development Fund Board – with the exception of the Chairman – should not be held liable.

He said he was present when Namuye, when taken to task by the Board, denied that Sh180 million had been withdrawn from the Fund’s accounts. “They were genuinely surprised.”

“This thing for me from the beginning was looking like a fairy tale. It can’t happen. It shouldn’t happen.”

Waiguru’s successor Sicily Kariuki has however since written to the Chief of Staff Joseph Kinyua and advised that the entire board be replaced.

The Board will appear before the Public Investments Committee on Thursday, after Waiguru, to make its case.

Kinyua will however not be appearing before the Committee on Wednesday as expected. In a letter to the Committee he said he needed more time to put his submissions together as he had been out of the country.

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