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Trio should be charged over Youth Fund scam, say MPs

Former Youth Fund Chairman Bruce Odhiambo

MPs have recommended prosecution of Catherine Namuye and Bruce Odhiambo over Sh224 million fraud at Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF)

The National Assembly Public Investment Committee wants the two charged alongside Quorandum Limited Managing Director Mukuria Ngamau. The consultancy firm is accused of receiving irregular payments.

The committee directed the Directorate of Public Prosecutions to investigate sacked YEDF director Clement Ayungo, and University of Nairobi student leader Babu Owino for possible involvement in the death of Simon Mwangi, a former driver at the State firm.

The recommendations are contained in a report tabled in the House yesterday by committee chairman Adan Keynan (Eldas).

The MPs recommended that should Ms Namuye, the suspended chief executive officer of the Fund, and Odhiambo, who was recently sacked as board chairman, be convicted in court, they should be barred from holding any public office.

They also directed the Public Procurement and Regulatory Authority director general to blacklist any company directly or indirectly associated with Mr Ngamau from participating in any Government public procurement proceedings both at the national and county levels.

The MPs also want the chief of staff Joseph Kinyua to prioritise the merger of YEDF, Woman and Uwezo Fund, Micro and Small Enterprises Authority and Kenya industrial Estate to create a Sh30 billion single entity called Biashara Kenya.

In a 172-page damning report, the MPs cited specific persons of interest who they want held accountable for the fraud.

The committee launched investigation into Sh400 million deposited at Chase Bank where Odhiambo unilaterally instructed the bank to make Namuye the sole signatory of the account, resulting in the loss of millions of shillings through dubious transactions.

The committee recommended that Chase Bank be investigated for possible violation of the banking Act. The House team now wants Namuye charged with nine counts of abuse of office, breach of finance and procurement laws and the Constitution.

The Committee also recommended that Odhiambo faces six charges for various acts of omission and commission to defraud the public and abuse of office. And Ngamau will face conspiracy to defraud the public of Sh180 million charges.

Service scheme

"The committee concluded that YEDF lost a total of Sh180 million through a well-orchestrated and dubious non-existent consultancy service scheme that was crafted and jointly executed by Odhiambo, Namuye and Ngamau," reads the report's conclusion.

It continues: "The committee concluded that YEDF lost Sh44.7 million in botched fund eigth anniversary event. The event, which was to be held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre was later changed to University of Nairobi grounds but did not materialise as it was verbally cancelled by a phone call purportedly by former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru to Odhiambo."

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