The Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Noordin Haji, has cast his net wider in the National Youth Service probe, with a multi-agency team formed to pore through Sh8 billion pending bills.
Mr Haji, who on Sunday received the first batch of files containing conclusions by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations on 10 companies in the Sh9 billion fraudulent payment scandal at NYS, said the team will scan each pending bill. The process might see more companies and individuals put under probe, and possibly prosecuted.
The team will include accountants, auditors, information technology experts, and sleuths from the DCI and the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission.
“We want to look at everything and anything about NYS, and ask: ‘Is it the system that is the problem?’ We do not want to leave any room for another scandal,” Mr Haji told the Nation on Sunday.
“This will be a bigger team comprising more experts. We want to look at these things thoroughly. We want it to be an in-depth and holistic approach; not just skimming at the top.”
In a report tabled before the Public Accounts Committee on Friday, Youth Principal Secretary Lilian Mbogo-Omollo said that when she was appointed, she inherited Sh10 billion pending bills at NYS, some dating back to 2013 and involving 5,000 companies.
She did not state how much had been paid out of the Sh10 billion. On Sunday, Mr Haji put the figure at Sh8 billion.
In 2016/17 and 2017/18 financial years, NYS paid Sh8.8 billion to suppliers, 1,401 in 2017, and 421 this financial year — about Sh6.2 billion and Sh2.67 billion, respectively.
Curiously, while the Department of Youth and Public Service paid out a total of Sh39.3 billion, it classified Sh5.9 billion as “unpayable claims”, more than 14 per cent of the entire Sh401.1 billon budget in the two financial years.
Reports of the expanded team emerged as the DPP on Sunday led the scrutiny of 10 files from the DCI on the Sh9 billion NYS scam.
Through a tweet on Sunday morning, the DPP confirmed receipt of Inquiry Files No. 51 of 2018 to 60 of 2018, through a letter from the Director of Criminal Investigations. Mr George Kinoti. “A team of experienced prosecutors led by the DPP is currently undertaking the final review of the files,” the tweet said.
The DPP said prosecution of individuals named in the 10 files “will start very soon”,.
In the Sh9 billion scandal, a figure Ms Omollo has disputed, ghost suppliers were paid at the expense of genuine ones, while others ended up getting double payments through the government funds disbursement system — Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis).
Some of the transactions under investigation were double payments. In one case, four payments were made to a company for one voucher. Each of the payments was worth more than Sh46 million, with the difference in amounts varying by only a few hundred shillings.
In another such payment, the company received equal amounts of money, yet only one voucher was available for scrutiny.
Meanwhile, Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi said: “What is happening is no longer the usual corruption that is endemic in government. It is obvious that budget items for various departments in government are formulated for the express purpose of stealing the proceeds,”
Deputy President William Ruto, speaking at St Peters Catholic Church in Lanet, Nakuru: “We will not sacrifice the progress of Kenya to satisfy the greed of a few individuals”.
Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika wondered how billions of shillings were withdrawn from banks without questions being asked, while Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa said: “The National Assembly shall not be cowed by cartels and merchants of deceit,” said Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa.
-Additional reporting by Derick Luvega