Youth fund’s board shouldn’t be in office

Wednesday March 30 2016

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Investigations into dealings at the Youth Enterprise Development Fund have exposed massive corruption in the organisation.

So far, it has been revealed that the fund lost some Sh180 million through a dubious contract. However, reports indicate that the loss is much bigger and the full details will only be known once investigations are complete.

Despite the massive losses and the manifest rot in the fund, its board is still intact. Other than the chief executive, Ms Catherine Namuye, who was suspended to pave way for investigations, and the chairman, Mr Bruce Odhiambo, who has since resigned, the rest of the board members are still in office. This demonstrates how impunity has been entrenched in the public service.

Ordinarily, the board members should have resigned, not only on principle because it is expected once one is adversely mentioned, but also to allow investigations to be carried out. Worse, President Uhuru Kenyatta has been advised by the parent ministry, Public Service, Youth Affairs and Gender, to suspend the board, but has done nothing.

Whatever the case, it is immoral for the board members to continue in office when it has emerged that they presided over the looting of the organisation. The fact that the chairman made the CEO the sole bank signatory and the board never questioned this is a blatant violation of the Public Finance Management Act.

The purpose of setting up the fund was to provide capital to the youth to set up businesses and get into productive engagement. It was part of the strategy to tackle prevalent youth unemployment by empowering the youngsters to be entrepreneurial, generate income, and take charge of their destiny.

It is, therefore, sad that such a noble initiative is undermined by corruption and that the perpetrators and their accomplices are not punished. The board members have no business being in office and the rational thing to do is to disband the team. The culprits should be made to face the law.