Public Service Principal Secretary Lilian Mbogo and a host of top ministry officials are lined up for interrogation by the Public Accounts Committee following the loss of about Sh9 billion from the National Youth Service (NYS) accounts.
Also expected to before the National Assembly’s watchdog committee chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi on Monday is NYS Director General Richard Ndubai and Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki.
On Monday, Mr Wandayi said that the officials are expected to explain what they know about the disappearance of the money “at the time the country is faced with many challenges”.
“This committee has invited the accounting officer responsible for state department of youth, among other individuals at the ministry, and NYS to respond to the queries related to the latest scandal,” Mr Wandayi said.
The committee’s intervention comes after the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) quizzed Ms Mbogo, Mr Ndubai and others over the loss of the money.
“This culture of embezzlement of limited public resources must surely come to an end. People must be held to account in terms of the roles they played that saw the billions disappear,” Mr Wandayi said.
Public Service Cabinet Secretary Margaret Kobia warned that anyone found culpable will be prosecuted.
However, Ms Mbogo claims that the amount being investigated by the DCI is Sh90 million and not Sh9 billion, which she termed exaggerated in a memo to her boss, Prof Kobia.
The memo is said to have been generated two days after President Uhuru Kenyatta summoned Prof Kobia to clarify on the matter, which emasculates the President’s war on corruption.
Corrupt NYS officials are said to have set-up dummy companies, forged tender documents and exploited vulnerabilities in the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS).
According to the DCI, the looting started in 2016 and was authorized and executed in favour of shadowy entities that delivered nothing but still got paid.
The investigation has narrowed down to 36 companies that claim to have supplied NYS with goods.
The NYS has in the past been rocked by a similar scandal when Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru was the Devolution Cabinet Secretary; before the department was transferred to the Public Service docket in 2015.
Ms Waiguru resigned, and denied involvement in the Sh791 million debacle. She said she was a whistle-blower.
At least 23 individuals, including former Devolution Principal Secretary Peter Mangiti and former NYS Director General Nelson Githinji, were prosecuted.
However, Mangiti and Githinji were acquitted in March this year for lack of evidence.