, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – The High Court on Friday declined anticipatory bail applications by two suspects facing investigations over the alleged loss of Sh9 billion at the National Youth Service (NYS).
The two – Bernard Masinga Ayienga and James Thuita Nderitu – sought to block arrest as teams from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) continue to investigate the loss of funds at the youth agency.
While Ayienga is a Senior Finance Officer at the NYS parent ministry of Public Service, Youth, and Gender Affairs, while Nderitu is a Director at Firstling Supplies Limited, a company paid 1.5 billion between September 2016 and August 2017.
Nderitu’s company has emerged as one of the entities that received huge sums of money from the NYS under the period being investigated, the other being Flagstone Merchants which was paid Sh1.03 billion.
While welcoming the development, the ODPP tweeted that its officers will pursue the alleged fraud to its logical completion saying those found culpable will face the full wrath of the law.
The development came even as Public Service and Youth Affairs Principal Secretary Lillian Omollo refuted claims that Sh9 billion had been irregularly paid to shadowy entities.
Omollo who appeared before the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee on Friday alongside her planning counterpart Julius Muia said irregular payments, if any, would have been detected in the Auditor-General’s report for 2016-17 during which financial year most of the Sh9 billion is said to have been paid.
“I do not think it is possible for that kind of money to be lost from an institution and the Auditor General for whom (I) as an accounting officer I live in fear of then does not find it, for me it is mind-boggling. I am not sure how it is that it never came to my attention that Sh9 billion was lost,” she stated.
Omollo who together with NYS Director-General Richard Ndubai has stepped down for three months to provide room for an independent investigation said the misappropriation of such a colossal amount of money would have rendered the NYS dysfunctional adding that NYS’s expenditure in 2016-17 was Sh22 billion.
She defended her tenure at the State Department of Public Service and Youth Affairs saying she had, in fact, stopped the payment of 1,600 claims due to irregularities that included lack of supporting documents since taking over in 2016.
Omollo pointed out that NYS had significantly reduced operational costs after the agency started sewing uniforms for its ranks, saying the move was saving the youth agency Sh600 million annually.
Omollo also told parliamentarians that NYS had stopped procurement of powder milk from private firms, instead single-sourcing the product from government-owned New Kenya Co-operative Creameries (New-KCC), a move that she said ruffled feathers of some suppliers who had been making huge amounts of money from the supply of the product.