Kenya: NYS to get Sh20b despite mega scandal

Project funding for the National Youth Service has been doubled to Sh20 billion amid outcry following massive theft.

It will be the largest allocation ever for the agency, which will also receive an additional Sh8 billion to run its ordinary operations even as President Uhuru Kenyatta soldiers on with his now soiled pet project.

Details of the budgetary estimates indicate total funding for the troubled paramilitary training institute has risen three-fold under the Jubilee administration, which turns four in April next year.

A revamped NYS was envisaged to recruit more than 20,000 youths every year who would be equipped with life skills, including farming and construction.

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich expects the increased budgets will enhance the capacity of the paramilitary training institution and roll out more projects, including roads and water pans.

In his last budget speech, the CS praised the NYS programme for creating "a lot of hope to our youth by preparing them for the job market and other income-generating activities".

Theft from the programme, through fraud, has however dealt a big blow in confidence among ordinary Kenyans since the scandal came to light.

An estimated Sh1.8 billion is feared to have been siphoned from the NYS in the past two years alone, dealing a major blow to the youth empowerment initiative where several programmes have been suspended.

Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, allied to the opposition coalition, is the latest politician to be linked to the scandalous payments from the NYS that could potentially draw even more leaders to the scam.

JOINTLY RECEIVED

Mohamed has denied being a director of both Fahaza Ltd and Zeigham Enterprises, which jointly received Sh87.5 million.

"I resigned as a director of those companies in December 2012," he said, after the accusations were made by Jubilee leaders on Tuesday evening.

His accusers claimed Mohamed was brother-in-law of Hassan Noor, who is married to the MP's sister and is a former chairman of the tender committee in the Ministry of Devolution and Planning.

It was the first time that an Opposition leader was linked to the theft that could be the biggest financial scam in the Jubilee administration, and an equivalent of the Anglo-Leasing scandal of retired President Kibaki regime.

Mohamed is a senior official in the opposition coalition and reportedly, a close confidant of Raila Odinga, according to his accusers led by Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichungwa.

Farouk Kibet, the personal assistant to Deputy President William Ruto and Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, have also been mentioned as likely beneficiaries of the looting.

Involvement of even more politicians in the scandal could compromise the investigations and hurt any real prospects of prosecution of suspects.

Ordinary youths recruited under the NYS programme are a disenfranchised lot, with several of the projects they were employed in currently remaining suspended.

Fuente: THE STANDARD