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National Assembly passes NYS Bill with changes to stop theft at the institution

By Rawlings Otieno | Published Thu, December 6th 2018 at 19:45, Updated December 6th 2018 at 19:46 GMT +3

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who will look through the NYS Bill 2018 passed by the National Assembly. [Photo, File]

National Youth Service (NYS) graduates will now be the first to be considered during recruitment for the military and other disciplined forces.

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The move follows the passage of the NYS bill 2018 by the National Assembly before the House adjourned for long Christmas recess till next year February.

But the passage is now subject to President Uhuru Kenyatta signing the bill into law once it is presented to him or not.

If assented to, the NYS graduates will also be absorbed in the Regular Police, Administration Police and Kenya Coast Guard Service units.

During the session, Majority Leader Aden Duale (Garissa Town) said that the bill will strengthen the NYS operations and management structure through the establishment of reforms in procurement and finance departments.

Strengthening the operations will include fixing the weaknesses identified in its structure, a hindrance to the achievement of the agency’s mandate by addressing loopholes in the governance and monitoring and other related malpractices.

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“Those who looted from the NYS coffers must be held accountable and must return all the money or property they took. The passage of this bill will clear the mess young people go through at the NYS,” said Duale.

Bura MP Ali Wario said that a few people have previously conspired to loot the NYS, a loophole that has greatly affected its image.

“The thief at NYS is certainly not our young recruits. The courts must tell us who the thieves are- those who went to punish our young people,” said Wario.

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Homabay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga said:  “It will sort out how NYS works and satisfy the needs of the youth.”

But other than enhancing the direct entry into disciplined services, the bill also seeks to cure wanton theft and misuse of public funds that have dogged the institution for long.  

The bill has a creation of a 12- member Council that will directly oversight the NYS Director General as well as provide a linkage between the service and the big four agenda and the Vision 2030 especially on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The council will be in charge of policy formulation as opposed on the current situation where the Principal Secretary in the ministry oversights the NYS- DG.

The Council shall consist of a non-executive Chairperson appointed by the President, the Principal Secretary for the Service, PS in charge of Treasury, Interior PS, Attorney General, and the Chief of the Kenya Defense Forces among others.

The Council shall consist of a non-executive Chairperson appointed by the President, the Principal Secretary for the Service, PS in charge of Treasury, Interior PS, Attorney General, and the Chief of the Kenya Defense Forces among others.

Public Service and Youth Affairs CS Margaret Kobia said that the passage of the bill will help create a strong institution with clear internal control structures among them an auditor to track the usage of public funds.

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This means that the council will take charge of supervision from the PS as the ministry deals with general formulation of policies.

“Corruption has been rampant at the facility because only the PS oversights the DG. That is why whenever there is a scandal, the PS and the DG have always been suspended. In the new structure, the ministry will have no role. The council will do the job,” the CS said.

 “We are establishing a council which has never been in existence to make a stronger NYS that will deliver on its mandate as well as ensure improved governance structure in terms of its finances,” said Kobia.

During the 2014/15 financial year, NYS was allocated Sh26 billion, an exponential shift from the Sh4 billion allocated in the previous financial year.

The massive corruption saw the Budget and Appropriations Committee of the National Assembly slash this NYS budget by about Sh6 billion and the proceeds were directed to the roads department.

The sudden increase in budget was faulted by Duale as it opened the doors for rampant looting at the expense of the cohorts.

“I remember asking the executive what was going on but little did we know that some beautiful women, crafty men…..were supplying hot air at the NYS. The cohorts would climb steep mountains but when they came back there were no loaves of bread left for them because the Ngiritas had taken their money,” said Duale.

The Ngiritas are among suspects charged in court alongside former Youth Principal Secretary Lilian Mbogo, former NYS DG Richard Ndubai for the theft of over Sh460 million at the facility.  

Kobia said that the ministry is currently working with a local audit firm- PriceWaterhousecoopers (PWC) on every procurement at the service to ensure financial regulations are complied with.

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