By Mzalendo Contributor – Moreen Majiwa
It seems the phrase commonly used to describe the Kazi kwa Vijana (KKV) Project, “Kazi kwa Vijana, Pesa kwa Wazee” holds a lot of water. On Sunday this week, the papers revealed large-scale misappropriation of funds intended for the KKV project. The KKV project, launched in 2009, was intended to create employment for 200,000-300,000 Kenyans primarily youth at risk of hunger and starvation. A noble endeavour seeing as of the country’s 40% unemployment rate, youth unemployment constitutes 64%.
The KKV project falls under the Office of the Prime Minister and is heavily financed by the World Bank. Of the 4.3 billion shillings allocated to the project the World Bank has disbursed 971 million shillings to the government through the Office of the Prime Minister. In June and July this year the World Bank’s financial management team conducted a review of all the project’s implementing agencies; the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Youth Affairs, and Kenya Private Sector Alliance. The audit covered the period since project’s inception in 2009 to August 31, 2011. In the process the World Bank’s financial management team uncovered:
- Weaknesses in the internal control procedures
- Improper payment procedures
- Transactions carried out without regard to policies and procedures
- Irregular transactions in breach of legal agreements
- Expenditures unrelated to the project
A few examples of the above include:
- The hiring of the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the office of the Prime Minister as the Director of Policy for the project. A role for which she received an enhanced salary and a top-up allowance while still on a government salary.
- Ministry employees were paid sitting and meal allowances for activities that had nothing to do with the project.
- Payments were made to participants of a National Youth Conference in Nairobi the audit report reveals that the conference never took place.
- Though the financing agreement does not provide for payment of operating costs 80 million shillings was granted as government counterpart funds to meet operating costs, however the money was not used on the project. Furthermore, the auditors were unable to gain access to documentation showing how the funds were used.
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg, the preliminary audit report details several other instances of misappropriation and mismanagement of funds, unaccounted for funds, and flouting of policy and procedure. It’s hardly surprising that the World Bank has termed the KKV project, high risk and vulnerable to graft, and is demanding a refund of the 971 million shillings already disbursed for the project.
In a statement issued to the press regarding the misappropriation of KKV funds, Dr Mohammed Isahakia Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister declared, “Some monies may have been used for purpose that were not consistent with KKV’s objectives or World Bank policies. It does not necessarily mean monies were stolen.”
Given the Prime Minister’s valiant calls for political accountability for graft in the past and the magnitude of the graft it is surprising that there has been no official statement from the Prime Minister himself considering that it is his Office that hosts the KKV project and he is the chair of KKV National steering committee.