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Two quit as probe into NYS scandal intensifies

Reuben Simiyu
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Public service PS Lilian Omollo and NYS Director General Richard Ndubai have stepped aside to allow for investigations. [Photo/Nation]

Probe into missing funds has intensified as two public officers who were in charge when the National Youth Service (NYS) was hit by the Sh10.5 billion scandal have stepped aside to pave way for investigations into the loss of billions of shillings of taxpayers money.

President Uhuru Kenyatta also directed all those implicated to uphold the code of ethics and integrity and also step aside. 

This can only mean that officers higher up in the ranks could come under pressure to step down.

President had accepted the decision by the two officials — Ms. Lilian Mbogo-Omollo and Mr. Richard Ndubai — to leave the office for three months to pave way for the investigations by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).

Ms. Mbogo-Omollo is the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service and Youth Affairs, while Mr. Ndubai is the NYS Director-General.

The bulk of the money — Sh6.1 billion — was lost between September 2016 and August 2017. 

A private company, Firstling Supplies Ltd, received the lion's share of the cash, having been paid Sh1.48 billion.

Another firm, Flagstone Merchants received the second highest — Sh1.03 billion.

It was not clear whether the two officers stepped aside of their own volition or they were pushed out. 

“The two officers directly responsible for the functions of NYS in the period being investigated are Ms. Omollo and Mr. Ndubai. This afternoon the President accepted their offer to step aside for a period of three months to allow investigating agencies to complete their work," State House said in a statement.

The President further said he has confidence in the work of the investigating agencies and assured the country that in the event any wrongdoing is established all those involved will be prosecuted.

The statement further said the President expects any public official directly implicated in the investigations to act accordingly. 

This could put pressure on Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki, who was in charge of the Youth ministry at the time.

Ms. Omollo was appointed PS in the ministry at the same time as Ms. Kariuki who at the time replaced Ms. Anne Waiguru who had resigned from the Cabinet in the wake of the first NYS scandal.

Ms. Kariuki was moved to the Health ministry when President Kenyatta named his second term Cabinet earlier this year. Ms. Mbogo-Omollo retained her old docket.

The spotlight of public scrutiny is now likely to turn to Ms. Kariuki and whether she will heed the President’s call for other officials to step aside.

Ms. Margaret Kobia is at present the CS in charge of Youth Affairs. 

As scandal after scandal continues hitting the Nationa Youth Service, the state should intensify moves to recover the lost taxpayer money.

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