NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 12 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on Kenyans to draw a clear distinction between the positive impact of initiatives by the National Youth Service (NYS) and the mismanagement of public resources by some government officers.
Speaking during the Jamhuri Day celebrations at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, President Kenyatta said corrupt individuals will not be allowed to hold hostage NYS programmes meant to empower the youths assuring the nation that they will be brought to book.
“I would like to urge Kenyans to draw a clear distinction between the positive impact of the NYS programme and the deplorable mismanagement of the past orchestrated by individuals who are determined to railroad its success,” he urged.
“Please have comfort – all those involved in pilfering resources earmarked for our youths will be held to account.”
The President, who enumerated key achievements by the programme took note of the employment opportunities created through NYS initiatives across the nation saying livelihoods of the youths had been impacted positively.
“Despite the challenges that our National Youth Service has faced, it has delivered some very clear and tangible successes,” he said. “Since 2013, the programme has employed over 91,334 cohorts spread over 81 constituencies across the country.”
President Kenyatta who sought to dismiss assertions by critics of NYS programmes that resources allocated to the service had done little to change the fortunes of the youths, observed that huge amounts of monies had been dispensed directly as salaries to youths recruited to service. He added that more money has been saved by the youths through Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations (SACCOS).
“The programme (NYS) has expended Sh5.4 billion of which Sh3.4 billion has been paid out as direct wages to those recruited while the balance has gone towards saving.”
According to the President, youths involved in NYS initiatives have been able to organize themselves into 300 SACCOS with the support of the government which has enabled them save money in order to pursue investment opportunities.
“These youths have so far organized themselves into 300 SACCOS and with our support they have been able to mobilize Sh1.4 billion in savings.”
The NYS has been a subject of discussions over the recent past since a probe of former devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru by the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) introduced a new turn in the investigations, when she named Deputy President’s aide Farouk Kibet and Senate Deputy Minority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen as having had a hand in the looting NYS funds – through what was termed as suspicious payments to Sing’oei, Murkomen and Singei Advocates (SMS).
Appearing before PAC on Friday, the Managing Partner of the law firm Hillary Sigei admitted that Sh 15 million had been credited to its accounts from Out of the Box Solution Company – a business mentioned as having benefited from the siphoning of funds at the NYS.
Sigei however dismissed accusations that the firm could have been involved in illegal dealings in the NYS scam saying their (SMS) relationship with a Ben Gethi – also adversely mentioned in the matter – had ended long before the Anti Banking Fraud Unit started investigating his (Gethi) involvement in the loss of funds at the service.
“We didn’t receive any money from people adversely mentioned in NYS saga. Our relationship with Ben Gethi ended on September 3, 2015,” Sigei said while appearing before the Nicholas Gumbo-led Public Accounts Committee on Friday.
In late November, former NYS Deputy Diirector-General Adan Harakhe and ex-tender committee chairman at the Ministry of Devolution Hassan Noor denied allegations of taking part in defrauding the service with 22 other in irregular payments after being arrested by detectives from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission for failure to honour summons to appear before the Anti-Corruption Courts at Milimani.
The two are among other senior government officials charged with NYS-related offences including former Planning Principal Secretary Peter Mangiti who was charged in November with conspiring to defraud the government of Sh 47 million.