House committee calls for lifestyle audit on Waiguru

A parliamentary committee yesterday opened a new dimension on the National Youth Service (NYS) scam when it recommended that former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru be investigated and prosecuted over the scandal.

The committee, while calling for a lifestyle audit on Waiguru and other officers in the ministry over the last five years, also called for the prosecution of Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and others over the scandal that it said the taxpayer lost Sh23 billion.

Also caught in the NYS crossfire is Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) governor whom the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) wants to be investigated and possibly charged with aiding and abetting money laundering.

PAC wrote that the Auditor General’s report provided a basis for the committee’s investigations and it revealed massive fraudulent activities, including Sh791 million, a further Sh609 million among irregularities.

There was also an attempt to steal Sh695 million. The report adds that on further investigations, the committee called for submissions from both the permanent secretary, Public Service and Youth Affairs and the Director of IFMIS which revealed that the sum in question.

Of the Sh23 billion lost from the ministry’s of planning coffers, Sh10 billion is directly traced to the NYS accounts. The committee has recommended that the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) to conduct a thorough lifestyle audit of top officials of the Ministry of Devolution and the NYS, including Waiguru, spanning the last five years.

Waiguru, should be barred from holding public office, if found guilty after due process, in light of her overall leadership failures at the ministry during her tenure.

The report, on a probe on the NYS by the PAC, also recommends that the EACC and the DCI to conduct investigations with a view to establish whether CBK Governor Dr Patrick Ngugi Njoroge should be charged with abuse of office.

The committee, chaired by Rarienda MP Nicholas Gumbo, accuses CBK governor of abetting the theft of funds at the ministry. The anti-graft agencies should immediately commence investigations into the role of CBK with particular focus on the Directors of Banking Services and Banking Supervision Directorates, and the Financial reporting Centre.

They CBK should be charged if found culpable with contravening the Proceeds of Crime and Anti Money Laundering Act for aiding and abetting money laundering. The DCI has also been asked to open investigations into the conduct of a law firm associated with Murkomen.

The committee, in its findings, says lawyer Hillary Sigei, the managing partner of Sing’oei, Murkomen and Sigei Advocates, with a view of instituting criminal charges against him for the withdrawal and use of Sh500,000, being proceeds of crime from the firm’s client accounts for his personal benefit.

But Murkomen, whose firm the committee wants investigated, termed the report “hollow, shoddy and preposterous”. A fuming Murkomen told a hurriedly convened press conference that the committee had embarrassed the institution of Parliament by writing such a confused report.

“I am reporting here again that the members included my name after I refused to part with a bribe as they had demanded. I wrote to the Speaker of the National Assembly seeking to appear before the Powers and Privileges Committee to set the record straight and am still waiting,” said Murkomen. He described the committee as a toll station for receiving bribes .

The committee further wants the DCI to launch investigations into the circumstances under which the Consulting House and its directors were paid Sh12.5 million in excess of what was due to them as per the contract.

The anti-graft agencies should also conduct a detailed forensic investigations on the 30 banks that received funds from the ministry and the NYS to ascertain compliance with the law.

The judiciary has also been asked to expedite prosecution of a case between former Principal Secretary and 24 others in relation to the NYS scandal.

Former NYS director Nelson Githinji is found responsible for abuse of office, complicity and financial mismanagement at the service, which led to the loss of public funds.

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