, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 1 – A section of the civil society has intensified calls for Prime Minister Raila Odinga and nine line ministers to step side over the Kazi Kwa Vijana funds scandal.
Activists under the banner of ‘Kenyans for Justice,’ led by Okiya Omtata, told journalists in Nairobi that the move would allow independent investigations into the scam.
He said Odinga should take responsibility as his office is charged with the supervision and coordination of the Kazi Kwa Vijana initiative.
“Supervision and coordination is not a name tag, it’s an assignment. The Prime Minister is personally the overall manager, regulator or administrator of the program. He is personally responsible to the people of Kenya for the success of the program,” he said.
“When a scam is detected by external forces then politicians in charge who are the elected public trustees should take responsibility for it and the Prime Minister should!” he added.
Omtata said that although the government had informed the World Bank of its intention to cancel the labour intensive components of the KKV, the alleged misappropriation of up to Sh33 million must be independently investigated as the program did not achieve its intended purposes.
“Even though the resources will be reoriented to other activities to enhance youth employment in the country, it is imperative for independent investigations to be done into the alleged loss of Sh33.1 million,” he insisted.
Among the line ministries that civil society wants to also take political responsibility include, the Ministry of Planning, Finance, Roads, Local Government, Internal Security and Provincial Administration, the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources, Youth Affairs and Sports and the ministry of Regional development.
Omtata warned supporters and opponents of the PM not to drag party politics into the fight against corruption.
He said that the fight against graft must be led from the front, with drastic action taken against perpetrators, regardless of their positions.
“Raila has many times declared himself a paragon of anti corruption efficiency transparency and other good governance attributes; let him seize his opportunity to cement his position as one who does not condone graft,” he added.
“This is not a matter for Raila’s opponents nor his sycophants to distort the issue with dimwit demands and counter explanations.”
The premier is on Wednesday expected to issue a statement in Parliament on the KKV after Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa sought it last week.
The World Bank had offered a grant of Sh4.3 billion (US$43 million) to support the project which aims to reduce the vulnerability of unemployed youth by offering a line of income for participation in infrastructure projects.
About 190,000 youths were supposed to have benefited from the latest phase of the initiative which was expected to have been significantly expanded due to the financing from international aid agencies.
But a World Bank financial management review found that millions of shillings meant for young Kenyans had instead been paid to a number of senior officials in the PM’s office in contravention of the agreement between the bank and the government and in breach of procurement procedures.
The review identified a number of officials in the PM’s office who had spent up to Sh37.5 million on seminars which never took place; illegal allowances and payments to companies for services which do not appear to have been rendered.