Public Accounts Committee chair Nicholas Gumbo (left) is accused of leading a shoddy probe into NYS scandal and using PAC report to witch-hunt Waiguru. [Photo/Courtesy]
Public Accounts Committee chair Nicholas Gumbo (left) is accused of leading a shoddy probe into NYS scandal. [Photo/Courtesy]

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on the National Youth Service (NYS) scandal that led to the loss of Ksh1.8 billion is a sham.

It was disheartening for the public who had put their faith in the committee to unearth the truth about NYS scandal and reveal names of those who stole the money, only to be duped.

After close to two years, the committee had nothing to report, and all they could do is perpetuate the same allegations that they were to substantiate in their probe.

Among the committee’s recommendations include fresh investigation into the scandal, lifestyle audit on former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, investigation into the alleged involvement of Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge and prosecution of Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen.

The irony is, PAC which had rubbished earlier investigations by EACC, now wants the anti-graft body to conduct fresh investigations into the scandal.

The committee had rubbished the findings by EACC, which absolved Waiguru of any wrongdoing, and promised to burn the midnight oil to ensure those responsible are brought to book.

And so we waited as our members of parliament played politics with an issue that is dire and adversely affected many Kenyans.

All the analyses and reports on radio, TV and Newspapers linking former CS Waiguru to the scandal could not be substantiated with PAC not finding any proof that she committed any crime.

Waiguru’s position of innocence suddenly appears to dawn on everyone as even those who were vocal in condemning her and calling for her prosecution have gone mum.

This raises several concerns. What motivated PAC to launch a probe into a case that was already under investigation by anti-graft agencies? Were they out to create fictitious links to prove their evidently mistaken assumptions on the matter?

If it is true that Waiguru indeed committed any offense, we would have had the evidence by now and I guarantee you she would be facing charges in court, if the protests and tough-talks by different political leaders is anything to go by.

But the fact that PAC, with all the machinery at its disposal, failed to find a link between Waiguru and the NYS scandal means we have been wrong the whole time, and she’s been right.

Could it be, therefore, that some members of the Opposition coalition CORD (renamed NASA) in the committee were under instruction to pin the NYS scandal on Waiguru, and may have been working to cook up evidence to complete the puzzle?

In her defense, Waiguru has in several cases, stated that she is the one who called in the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to investigate the suspicious transactions at the Ministry which proved that money had been stolen.

She also helped to stop a further loss of Ksh826 million and went ahead to sack 21 senior ministry officials over the scandal, including Principal Secretary Peter Mangiti.

ODM leader Raila Odinga, could not however wait for investigations to be completed as he immediately began calls to have Waiguru resign, which she eventually did.

Political analysts have attributed Raila’s incessant call for Waiguru’s resignation to a larger plan to shake Jubilee administration owing to her pivotal role in helping the government achieve its promises of bettering the lives of women and youth.

It is worth noting that during her time as Devolution Cabinet Secretary, Waiguru rebranded and relaunched NYS, which turned into a source of income for the youth, launched slum upgrading programmes, the Youth Fund as well as Uwezo Fund which helped women be more sustainable.

Having not found any evidence, Public Accounts Committee recommended a lifestyle audit on Waiguru and called on EACC (which had already cleared Waiguru) to launch fresh investigations.

This sounds like a game of musical chairs.

If the EACC could not find anything to link Waiguru to the scandal the first time, what is it that they would find now, that PAC itself could not find?

The report just shows that the committee found nothing to link Waiguru to the scandal but are too embarrassed to admit that Waiguru is (to borrow Raila’s signature expression) “mweupe kama pamba”.

Is it a coincidence that the lifestyle audit call comes barely two weeks after ODM leader Raila Odinga asked for the same in response to a suit where Waiguru has sued him for defamation.

Are ODM MPs in PAC just trying to please Raila, or trying to intimidate Waiguru into withdrawing the case?

In fact, the role of Public Accounts Committee should have been to interrogate the Auditor General’s report which does not mention Waiguru anywhere.

Certain issues arise in the PAC recommendations one of them being the omission of certain names from the report.

Deputy President William Ruto’s aide Farouk Kibet who admitted, in a letter to PAC last November, to to having received Ksh1.5 million from key suspect Josephine Kabura was conspicuously missing in the report, while Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen was put to hang for the same apparent offense.

While Kibet admitted to having received Ksh1.5 million from Kabura, Sing’oei, Murkomen & Sigei Advocates, a law firm where Murkomen is a co-partner received Ksh15 million from Out Of The Box Solutions, a firm owned by Gethi.

Same crime, different verdict.

Another notable absentee in the report was ODM Director of Elections and Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, who is alleged to have also benefited from the NYS proceeds.

Zeigham Enterprises Ltd, a firm owned by Junet is said to received Ksh21.8 million from NYS for the supply of goods while his sister’s firm Fahaza Ltd also got a contact worth Ksh51.8 million.

Junet is a member of PAC and a confidant of Raila Odinga.

Neither Junet nor his sister were summoned before the committee, or asked to submit written submissions.

Another ludicrous recommendation was the call for investigations into Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge over the NYS scandal.

There are also claimed that there was infighting within PAC with some members allegedly receiving bribes totaling to Ksh40 million to water down the report.

From these events, it is evident that Public Accounts Committee cannot be trusted.

The Public Accounts Committee, through its chair Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo, should admit its failures, apologise to Kenyans for wasting their time and money and step down from their positions.