, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 20 – Four hundred officers have been cleared in the ongoing vetting being conducted on public servants in line with a directive issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta on June 1.
President Kenyatta had in his Madaraka Day speech ordered a lifestyle audit in government institutions beginning with Heads of Procurement and Accounting Units to expose those linked to graft in part of the ongoing war against corruption.
According to Government Spokesperson Eric Kiraithe, the 400 have been cleared in the first phase of the vetting exercise which is nearing the end.
“Due to employer/employee confidentiality terms, communication to the officers as to the conditions of return is to be effected by their respective authorised officers,” he said on Monday.
Kiraithe said in a statement to newsrooms that the second cohort of public officers to be vetted have already been identified and will be duly notified to provide requisite details.
“Due to extenuating circumstances, the timelines for the vetting process extended beyond the anticipated period,” Kiraithe’s statement read.
The Government Spokesperson said officers not cleared during the first phase of vetting will be processed in line with the law and human resource guidelines.
“Those who will not have been cleared to return to office will be processed in line with existing law, human resource guidelines, and within the tenets of the Fair Administrative Action Act,” he said.
In his Madaraka Day address in Meru, President Kenyatta had ordered the immediate suspension of officials who fail the vetting exercise pending prosecution.
“All Heads of Procurement and Accounts in Government Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Parastatals will undergo fresh vetting, including polygraph testing, to determine their integrity and suitability,” President Kenyatta said at the while instructing that the vetting exercise is concluded before the start of the 2018/2019 Financial Year.
Kenyatta’s directive came just three days high-ranking government officials were arraigned before an Anti-Corruption Magistrate’s Court to answer to charges of corruption and abuse of office over the loss of Sh468 million from the National Youth Service (NYS).
A total of 54 persons were charged in relation to the Sh468 million scam.
They included then Principal Secretary in State Department of Public Service and Youth Affairs Lillian Omollo and then NYS Director General Richard Ndubai.
The duo while appearing before Magistrate Douglas Ogoti on May 29 denied conspiracy to commit corruption and abuse of office.
The two were accused of approving the said payments amounting to Sh468 million to Annwaw Investment, Njewanga Investments, Arkroad Holdings Limited, Kunjiwa Enterprises, Ameri Trade Limited, Ngwiwaco Enterprises, Jerrycathy Enterprises, Fisrtling Supplies Limited, Kalabash Food Supplies Limited, and Ersatz Enterprises for services not procured.
Directors of the 10 companies were among those charged.
The 54 NYS indictees have been scheduled for trial before Principal Magistrate Peter Opondo between January 7 and 31, 2019.
The Director of Public Prosecutions on Thursday announced a total of 43 witnesses had been lined up to testify in the trial.
President Kenyatta has since overhauled the leadership of NYS and State Department of Public Service and Youth Affairs.
The Head of State presided over the swearing in of a new Principal Secretary for State Department of Public Service and Youth Affairs – Francis Otieno – on Tuesday as the Cabinet approved the restructuring of the NYS.
“Cabinet approved the proposed restructuring of the National Youth Service (NYS), to deal with the serious managerial and operational challenges that have been reported at the NYS in the recent past,” a brief statement from the Cabinet Office read.
The changes are in addition to the appointment of a new NYS Director General in July in a bid to seal managerial and operational gaps that had exposed the agency to massive looting in the past.
The new Director General – Matilda Sakwa – had served as Machakos County Commissioner prior to her appointment.
Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Margaret Kobia subsequently suspended the payment of pending bills totalling to Sh5.6 billion owed by NYS to pave way for verification of the claims.
“We’re not saying that the officers are going to be stepping aside but we want to give the new DG a new team. They can be assigned other areas within the institution, but they will not be doing procurement,” Kobia explained when she unveiled Sakwa at NYS headquarters on July 4.
Kobia vowed to institute reforms that will ensure public funds allocated to NYS are not looted, promising that loss of funds will not happen under her watch.