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PAC summons Kobia over NYS scam

Prof Margaret Kobia. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Prof Margaret Kobia. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has summoned Youth and Public Service secretary Margaret Kobia and her predecessor, Sicily Kariuki, over the Sh9 billion scandal at the National Youth Service (NYS) even as the police start grilling suspended officials in relation to the scam.

PAC chairman Opiyo Wandayi said the two must appear before the committee on Friday without fail.

They are expected to appear alongside suspended PS Lillian Omollo, NYS director-general Richard Ndubai and other affected officials.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters along Kiambu Road on the outskirts of Nairobi was abuzz with activities Monday as officials from the Public Service ministry streamed in to record statements. The officials are part of 40 individuals under investigation.

The officials, who were sent on compulsory leave on Sunday by Prof Kobia, started arriving at the headquarters as early as 10a.m.

Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti said over the weekend that he had assembled a team of detectives to take statements from the officials. In Parliament, Planning PS Julius Muia exonerated himself from the issues raised by the auditor regarding the scandal, saying they can only be answered by officials from the Public Service Department. “Our department of planning only controls 10 per cent of the entire ministry work and therefore the queries raised by the auditor-general can be answered by officials from Public Service and Youth Affairs,” Mr Muia said.

The House summons come after Ms Omollo and Mr Ndubai failed to show up to answer to audit queries by the Auditor General for the financial years 2014/15 and 2015/16.

A letter written to the committee and signed by MW Ojiambo on behalf of the suspended PS indicated that the ministry official was not prepared despite the auditor- general’s report being released a year ago.

Mr Wandayi dismissed the letter, saying it was contemptuous and amounted to belittling the work of the committee.

“We are not satisfied with the reasons advanced by the ministry and we are now ordering them to appear before us on Friday without fail. The auditor general’s report was released one year ago and therefore the issue of unpreparedness does not arise,” Mr Wandayi said.

Chepalungu MP Gideon Koskei said the scandal diminishes hopes of young people who are looking forward to benefiting from various programmes in the ministry.

“I feel bad that all the programmes meant for young people in this country have failed. Stepping aside of the PS and the director-general is not an answer, we need to get back the lost,” Mr Koskei said.

Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro expressed disappointment over failure of the officials to turn up and answer questions in relation to the scandal.

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