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Sh180 million was spent on non-existent project, says CS

By Roselyne Obala | March 10th 2016

The Youth Enterprise Development Fund lost Sh180 million through a fictitious contract, the Government has confirmed.

Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said the payment to Quorandum Limited, a consultancy firm purportedly hired to design a comprehensive ICT strategy and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) design, could not be justified.

Even more shocking was the revelation to the National Assembly Public Investment Committee (PIC) chaired by Eldas MP Adan Keynan that the State firm has paid far less (Sh5.9 million) for a similar project that is being implemented.

"We have not come across any documented evidence as proof of the consultancy services rendered. There is no evidence that the board discussed or authorised the procurement of the services to develop an ICT strategy," Ms Kariuki told MPs, when committee vice chairman Kimani Ichung'wa (Kikuyu) and Kiragu Chege (Limuru) challenged her to confirm if the agency sought such a service.

She added: "I have just learnt this week that the agency has an ICT strategy currently being implemented at a cost of Sh5.9 million, spread from 2013 to 2017 by Macro Flex Limited."

In probing the 'ghost' project, the legislators called for the immediate suspension of the current board by the President and recruitment of a substantive chief executive officer to lead the multi-billion-shilling Fund.

The latest exposé on theft of public funds under the Ministry of Devolution is a serious indictment on the Government's commitment to empower the youth.

The spotlight is on the suspended acting CEO Catherine Namuye and Board chairman Bruce Odhiambo over unilateral instructions by Odhiambo to Chase Cank to change signatories, making Namuye the sole signatory to sign transactions.

This singular act led to the loss of Sh180 million through fraudulent payment to Quorandum Limited. Not spared is the bank, which the CS censured for being reluctant in providing bank statements of the Fund's Sh400 million deposit account, and when it finally yielded to pressure, gave erroneous cash deposits.

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