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Delay in finalising NYS probe cause for worry

By The Standard | Published Thu, March 2nd 2017 at 00:00, Updated March 1st 2017 at 19:39 GMT +3
Parliamentary Accounts Committee Chairman Nicholas Gumbo (right) reacts to appoint during the grilling of Former CS Devolution Ann Waiguru at Parliament Buildings where Waiguru was grilled for several hours by Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) on issue involving corruption allegations at the NYS 03/11-16 PHOTO MOSES OMUSULA

Like so many other financial scandals before it, the highly publicised theft of more than Sh791 million at the National Youth Service (NYS) in 2015 is likely to be swept under the carpet. Not even after it was reported that the amount lost could be in billions. Yet sadly, it won't be the first time that the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) has been used as the sanitiser.

A damning report by the Institute for Social Accountability in 2012 revealed that parliamentary house committees were objective. It said some Members of Parliament received bribes to influence outcomes on investigations by House Committees.

Infighting within PAC in 2016 that saw members scheme to oust their chairman at the time, Ababu Namwamba on charges of corruption, failure to delegate duties and too many foreign trips seemed to vindicate this claim.

After the scam at NYS broke out in 2015, the Public Accounts Committee under Nicholas Gumbo initiated investigations and summoned the then Cabinet Secretary for Devolution Anne Waiguru to shed some light on the matter. To date, those findings have not been made public and in fact, responsibility for the loss has not been attributed to anyone.

With the campaign period fast approaching, the attention of MPs is in ensuring their re-election bids succeed. They may not be too keen on pinning down public funds embezzlers and in so doing, could let a few individuals off the hook.

This must not happen. PAC owes it to the public to table its findings before Parliament is prorogued in readiness for the August elections. Its findings and the enforcement of Chapter Six of the Constitution could save the public deceit and the burden of electing unworthy leaders to positions of influence.

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NYS should not become just another scam to which no answers were found. Public accountability must be enforced in totality.