NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 29 – The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) now says Sh1.8 billion has so far been lost in the National Youth Service (NYS) scandal and not Sh791 million that had been initially reported.
EACC Chief Executive Officer Halakhe Waqo told the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) investigating the saga that they are dealing with 13 cases involving the NYS, aside from the ongoing cases on the loss of Sh791 million.
“By last December we were following the trail of over Sh1.3 billion but as of now we have nothing less than Sh1.8 billion; and the figure is growing and it might grow by next week because this is not a static figure,” said Waqo.
He added: “The NYS is a sort of a strange animal; it keeps on mutating, every morning bearing a new wing, a new leg, a new hand, a new hoof. I can assure you that nearly all people from all walks of life whether in the government or outside of government have been mentioned in the NYS probe, including MPs, Principals Secretaries, Cabinet Secretaries, and people who hold other offices. You can also confirm that my own chairman was a casualty of the same.”
Former EACC chairman Philip Kinisu last month bowed to pressure and resigned from office after the National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee recommended his removal from office.
Kinisu quit as EACC chairman because he claimed that he had resigned as a director of Esaki in 2008 yet he only resigned in 2016, the year after he became EACC Chairman.
The House team established that “Kinisu had neglected to declare a conflict of interest” as Esaki was supplying NYS while it was under investigation by the anti-graft agency over the loss of Sh791 million of taxpayers’ money in fraudulent payments.
The NYS scandal has claimed the careers of senior government officials, including former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru.
Waqo said that the commission is undertaking a lifestyle audit on all the key players.
He explained that the secret probe is usually done on anyone adversely mentioned as having played any part directly or indirectly.
“Our format is that immediately we start investigations, we also start tracing resources that have been mentioned. We also pick some of the key individuals and start lifestyle audits on them and I want to say that the lifestyle audit is also another covert investigation, it’s not an on-the-table kind of a deal that Kenyans might want to see,” he stated.
Eleven people – including former Principal Secretary Peter Mangiti, former NYS director Nelson Githinji and merchants Josephine Kabura and Ben Gethi are facing charges over the scandal in which former Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru was cleared.