The National Youth Service (NYS), a very promising institution is currently embroiled in accountability issues that need concerted efforts to resolve them. The work that the NYS has undertaken especially in building roads, opening up drainages and providing some socio-economic facilities for people especially in slum areas has been evident.
In the recent one week, there have been strong allegations of impropriety. Later, Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru came out to state that she had stopped some fictitious payments of sh826 million and provided details to the Criminal Investigations Departments (CID) to investigate and prosecute those found culpable.
With regard to this matter, two grave concerns have been highlighted. The first is the personnel who are alleged to have committed the fraud. It is alleged that a password belonging to Senior Deputy Director General Adan Harakhe was stolen and used to sanction some illegal payments.
The second key concern is how secure is the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) that is used by government to make payments. The system, which is operated by human beings, has been previously stated to be foolproof. In fact, transactions done from one department can be seen by another hence able to see any anomalies. It is this feature that enabled Treasury to raise the red flag in the institution leading to the current situation.
In light of the emerging concerns, strong leadership needs to steer the debate in the right direction.
First, for too long, a few Kenyans have led to the misery of so many yet they go unpunished. Fraud at NYS will affect not only its members and the communities that they work in but also many dependent on them for the casual jobs and others grateful for the sanity they have created in their communities.
Secondly, all investigation institutions need to rise to the occasion and make a clean break from the past. They need to prioritize and see to it that no stone will be left unturned.
Thirdly, Parliament, which consists of peoples’ representatives need to be decisive. Already, the Labour and Social Welfare Committee of the National Assembly will next week meet Waiguru to shed light on the anomalies and what she has so far done about it.
This NYS situation should bring out the best in the separation of powers principle. Parliament which is constitutionally independent from the executive must be seen to live by this dictate and unearth whatever rot is in the institution to safeguard its integrity and ensure Kenyans do not suffer.
Under the separation of powers principle, Parliament is expected to check the executive to ensure there are no excesses. Summoning Waiguru is the first step. It needs to move, after collecting and collating information from her, including summoning anyone else, tell Kenyans where the problem is.
So far under the jubilee administration, this principle has not come out strongly. Parliament has been seen to be an extension of the executive, not doing much to properly vet its nominees, check its powers and investigate issues to the best of public’s demand and expectations. Let this not be the case as before.