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Economy

Lapsset on the spot for defying President on scholarships

Auditor- General Edward Ouko. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Auditor- General Edward Ouko. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The State infrastructure agency in charge of building the multi-billion shilling Lamu port has been accused of disregarding a presidential directive to sponsor 1,000 students.

The Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia (Lapsset) is on the spot for misallocating Sh57 million meant to educate 1,000 students from Lamu County as directed by the President. Auditor- General Edward Ouko accused the Lapsset management of spending a paltry Sh1.8 million to sponsor ten students who are non-residents of Lamu County.

Mr Ouko said Lapsset was to spend Sh57,425,750 on grants and subsidies in the year to June 2016 under the Lapsset Youth Presidential Scholarship Programme.

“The expenditure as disclosed under Note 8 to the financial statements relates to Lapsset presidential youth scholarship programme under which one thousand students from Lamu County are to be sponsored for studies in various institutions,” Mr Ouko said in Lapsset books of accounts for 2015/16 tabled in the National Assembly by Majority Leader Aden Duale.

He said an audit revealed the authority used Sh1,807,232 to sponsor non-Lamu residents.

“In the circumstances, the propriety of expenditure of Sh1,807,232 cannot be confirmed,” Mr Ouko said in a qualified audit opinion dated May 31, 2017.

Former President Mwai Kibaki offered government scholarships for 1,000 youth from Lamu to train on port operations ahead of opening of the Lamu port. The project was intended to help young people gain technical training in port-related areas.

The Kenyan government is spear heading the multi-billion shilling project to link landlocked South Sudan and Ethiopia to the Indian Ocean port of Lamu by constructing a major highway, a railway and an oil pipeline, which would take many years to complete.

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