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Have cartels taken over youth empowerment programme?

By MWANIKI MUNUHE | November 3rd 2013 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Ann Waiguru
                                                                Ann Waiguru PHOTO:COURTESY



Even as the government seeks to implement the Youth Empowerment Programme, it has now emerged that the process is riddled with graft and that one can secure a certificate of registration as a youth or person with disability for as little as Sh10,000.

The Standard on Sunday has established that a group of well-connected cartels selling these crucial documents for between Sh10,000 and Sh20,000 depending on one’s own negotiation capacity.

The cartels involving government officers involved in Youth Access to Government Procurement (YAGPO) and a section of brokers have been running a fraudulent scheme to register companies that do not qualify into the programme.

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The Standard on Sunday has also established that the cartel does not only target clients who want to be unfairly registered, but also members of the youth groups, women and persons with disabilities under the pretext that they can help them secure the said certificate within a day.


   Power of attorney

The cycle of activities at the National Treasury building is such that brokers take documents from their clients and a commitment deposit. The documents are then passed on to government officers working at the registration programme and who are also members of the cartel. They are then processed as a matter of urgency before they are submitted back to the brokers who will pass them to their client when the balance is paid.

Some of the brokers now working at the National Treasury are said to have been based at the registration of companies department before the YAGPO programme started.

In other instances, people who have surpassed the age of 35 years — the limit for one to qualify for registration under YAGPO — are advised to get young people to sign documents for incorporation of a company for a fee. Their details would then be passed on to YAGPO through CR12 FORM which the ministry demands before entering a Company under the YAGPO programme.

The CR12 form shows the directors of a company and their share holding in that company. When this has been done, the person sponsoring the registration further gets the supposed shareholders to give him/her the power of attorney to run the company.


  Non-deserving applicants

The effect of this is that the young people who were used in registration of the company would have absolutely no idea as regards the transactions of the company. “This practice has been going on since the program started but it has gone high as the knowledge about its benefits increases,” said a source we spoke to.

Efforts to contact National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich were futile as he neither picked our calls nor respond to text messages.

“If it is indeed true as alleged that some unscrupulous persons are taking advantage of the noble intentions of the 30 per cent public procurement preference and reservations for women, youth and persons with disabilities to extort money from applicants, and also corrupting the exercise by issuing certificates to non-deserving applicants, then the Ministry of Devolution and Planning condemns this practice unreservedly,” said Devolution Cabinet Secretary Ann Waiguru.

“The objectives of this programme are noble, and seek to mobilise women, youth and persons with disabilities to participate in public procurement. We will be asking the relevant institutions to take appropriate measures to bring this practice to an end, and any persons found culpable should face the consequences of the law,” she added.

President Uhuru launched the programme to economically empower disadvantaged groups among them the youth, persons with disability and women.

Ministry of Devolution and Planning is charged with ensuring that 30 per cent of government procurement is reserved for the disadvantaged groups.

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