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Economy

Scandal-hit NYS made parastatal with board

National Youth Service
National Youth Service graduands during a pass-out parade at NYS College in Gilgil, Nakuru, on February 16. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Cabinet has approved the restructuring of the National Youth Service (NYS) to include a board of directors in a bid to seal managerial and operational gaps that have exposed the agency to massive looting in the past.

The new measures will convert the youth training agency to a State-owned corporation with a board that will oversight the management headed by a chief executive officer.

At present, the NYS operates as a department of the Public Service ministry — which has exposed it control by bureaucrats and politicians.

The youth agency also lacked a board to oversee the management, allowing senior staff to operate with little controls.

Top civil servants, Public Service PS Lilian Omolo, suspended NYS director-general Richard Ndubai and tens business people were in May charged with the theft of nearly half a billion shillings of public funds.

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The Cabinet also approved the review of the supply chain management, budgetary and internal audit procedures to fine-tune the operations of the NYS.

“Cabinet approved the proposed restructuring of the National Youth Service to deal with the serious managerial and operational challenges that have been reported at the NYS in the recent past,” a brief statement from the Cabinet Office read.

“Key among these is the establishment of an oversight board which will effectively make the organisation a body corporate with a director-general as the CEO.”

The changes came as President Uhuru Kenyatta presided over the swearing in of Francis Otieno to replace Ms Omollo who stepped aside over the May charges.

The Sh468 million scandal follows a similar scam three years ago at the same agency, which saw nearly Sh2 billion get lost.

Earlier this year, a court acquitted former Devolution PS Peter Mangiti and nearly two dozen NYS officials after a trial over the alleged theft of Sh48 million in 2015. Other theft cases are pending in court.

President Kenyatta earlier picked former Machakos County Commissioner Matilda Sawkwa as the new NYS director-general.

Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs secretary Margaret Kobia subsequently suspended the payment of pending bills totalling to Sh5.6 billion the NYS owed to pave the way for verification of the claims.

Parliament cut funding for the NYS after the two corruption scandals there.

The Treasury had proposed to allocate Sh18.36 billion to the agency to fund its programmes for the year ending June 2019, but parliament cut the budget by Sh8 billion to stem the rampant theft of funds.

NYS trains young people and deploys them to projects ranging from construction to traffic control.

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