EDITORIAL: Prosecute NYS fraudsters

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has exposed malpractices at the National Youth Service (NYS) in an investigation report released on Monday. Anne Waiguru, the Cabinet Secretary under whose docket NYS falls, recommended a probe after it emerged that the agency lost Sh791 million to corruption.

Procurement, finance and internal audit were found to have gaps, allowing unscrupulous workers and their accomplices to inflate prices of goods and services against the recommendation of the public procurement watchdog.

Supplies business has grown into an ogre in Kenya, creating a group of business people known in jest as ‘tenderpreneurs’. They want to become rich quickly, and, unfortunately they found weak areas at the NYS to swindle the taxpayers, some of whom cannot afford a meal a day.

This is unacceptable. Indeed, now that the ministry has a concrete report put together by a government agency, the culprits have to be prosecuted to serve as a warning to others who could be itching to dip their fingers into the cookie jar.

The EACC has recommended a review of systems to tighten the loose ends and block future looters. That is okay, but the ethics team must include prosecution of the suspects to serve as deterrent to anybody craving government tenders for selfish reasons.

It is shameful that by the time NYS was being revamped, some government officials instead saw gaps to enrich themselves. Such suspects must be taken to court as urgently as possible because that is where they can explain or defend themselves for justice to be done.