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Sh9b NYS scandal claims tens of casualties as probe continue

NAIROBI
By Cyrus Ombati | May 20th 2018
An NYS recruit at a past pass out parade. CS Margaret Kobia has sent on compulsory leave all procurement, finance and accounting officers at the agency to allow for probe into Sh9B scandal.[File, Standard]

All officers at the National Youth Service (NYS) procurement, finance and accounting departments have been sent on compulsory leave.

Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary Prof Margaret Kobia said the move follows ongoing investigations at the NYS and the stepping aside of the Principal Secretary Lilian Mbogo-Omollo, and the Director General Richard Ndubai.

“I hereby direct that all officers at NYS in Procurement, Finance and Accounting who are under investigations are directed to proceed on compulsory leave effective immediate to allow investigators to complete their work,” she said in a statement on Sunday.

Top NYS managers and suppliers are expected to re-appear before the Directorate of Criminal Investigations Monday to defend themselves before their files are sent to the state prosecutor for action.

A multi-agency team pursuing allegations of fraud in paying tenders at the service have summoned the officials from today to tell them they have formed a prima facie case against them in the ongoing probe.

DCI George Kinoti said Sunday they had summoned the officials to defend themselves on what they know on the issue of fraud.

“We don’t want to frame anyone. We want to ensure once we send the files to the DPP we are in the same page with the accused so that they don’t come to complain they were framed. We have summoned them to explain their case that we have so far developed,” said Kinoti.

He added they have asked those summoned to come with documents or their side of the story that may exonerate them from the accusations.

For instance, they have established some procedures were not followed before payments were made to the suppliers and some goods may have been paid for more than twice.

The detectives are yet to establish if the goods paid for were indeed supplied.

Investigators want to establish if there are any case of collusion between suppliers and public officers that may have led to theft of money in fictitious claims involving billions of shillings.

Sources at the team investigating the issue say they want to give some of the accused a chance to explain the source of their wealth.

Among those expected there include Ms Omollo, Ndubai, accountants, supplies management officials, those from the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) and procurement officers.

Also wanted by the police are suppliers and directors of companies that were involved in business with NYS.

Ms Omollo and Ndubai and officials drawn from the Finance and Procurement departments have been questioned more than once by the team probing the matter. The PS and DG have stepped aside to allow the probe continue.

Kinoti said they are not looking into the quantity of the money lost. He added they don’t care if some of them want to run away.

“Even if it’s a shilling or Sh8 billion you quote that is money. We are not going to exaggerate and it is not an issue if some of them want to run away. They will be caught,” he added.

As part of the probe, police have frozen bank accounts of 13 firms that are said to have received Sh121 million from NYS following allegations of fraud.

The firms operate three accounts- two at the Consolidated Bank and a third one at the Barclays Bank of Kenya that were frozen on April 26, 2018 following a court order.

The DCI secured the freezing through an affidavit sworn by police constable Kenneth K. Kemei who told Nairobi Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi that they were conducting a probe on the three accounts.

The magistrate issued the orders requiring the two banks to preserve any monies held in the accounts for 90 days and or pending the outcome of investigations.

The order also required the banks to provide the sleuths with bank account opening documents, inward and outward remittances documents/instructions, SWIFT/RTGS, deposit and withdrawal slips and cheques from inception to date relating the accounts.

The freezing now collaborates a statement by the Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs ministry that only 13 vouchers worthy Sh121 million are under investigations by a multi-agency team led by the DCI and not the Sh8 billion.

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