NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 2 – The Youth Enterprise Development Fund Chairman Bruce Odhiambo says there is no cover up following the unearthing of a scandal in which huge sums of money have been lost through non-existent consultancies.
While allaying fears that operations at the fund were paralysed, Odhiambo called for patience as a probe into various accounts determines exactly how much has been lost is conducted by the Anti Banking Fraud Unit.
He explained that the Chief Executive Officer Catherine Namuye had been sent on temporary leave and among the questions the audit will be seeking to determine is the issue of her being the sole signatory to the firm’s account at Chase Bank.
“I don’t think that the board can cover up anything because when these things are being investigated, the board can do nothing,” he said.
He stressed that it is only after investigations are complete that appropriate action can be taken but that this will be determined by evidence.
“Your kids are your children… all of them regardless. No one is going to tell you that this is a drunk one, this loves football too much, this one does this, you have to protect everyone at the same time and you can’t just go according to accusations. Until the investigations come back is when now you can know what you are dealing with,” he stated.
Odhiambo further indicated that they are still serving Kenyans and that everything will be undertaken with transparency.
“Operations are still going on. The young people are still getting their money and everything is fine. Nothing has been crippled. These investigations are what will help us be more effective in running this fund. We are telling these young people trust us, we are reaching out to you and everything is fine,” he said.
There have been allegations that officials have been forging documents, including bank instructions to defraud the public of millions of shillings in non-existent consultancies.
The fund saves money that is not immediately required in short term fixed deposits to earn interest and had opened such an account at Chase Bank with a deposit of Sh400 million.
Sh180 million was claimed to have been siphoned from the fixed deposit account on February 11 and April 27 to pay a company known as Quarandum Ltd.
In February, Odhiambo further wrote to Chase Bank making Namuye the sole signatory to the account.
The board at its meeting two weeks ago suspended Namuye and Finance Manager Benedict Atavachi as investigators from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations moved into the fund’s head offices to investigate the claims of fraud.
The matter was then referred to the audit committee which met on October 22 and recommended the suspension of the CEO to pave way for investigations.
The recommendations were then tabled before the full board on October 23 during which the decision to suspend Namuye was taken.
Namuye has been under the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) radar for some time.
She was among the senior public officials whose names were contained in the EACC dossier that President Uhuru Kenyatta presented to Parliament.