EDITORIAL: Why MPs’ probe of NYS scam is a sham

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Parliament took over the task of investigating the monumental National Youth Service scandal where the country lost at least some Sh760 million through dubious deals involving bigwigs in government.

As the oversight institution that superintends over public resources, the investigations were expected to be methodical, thorough and far-reaching and consequently, give sound recommendations for action.

However, the findings tabled in the House yesterday, after months of dithering, were as ridiculous as they were preposterous.

The Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) chaired by Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo recommended that former Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, who was principally accused to have masterminded the heist, working in cahoots with some shadowy characters, should be audited for lifestyle expenditure.

But the same report recommends that Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen be prosecuted for benefiting from the scandal.

It also proposes that Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge be investigated and prosecuted for failing to stop the payments; yet the governor has no authority over ministry payments.

Clearly, the whole investigation was a farce. It has skirted around the problem and targeted peripheral or non-suspects and absolved possible culprits.

Ms Waiguru has several times been cited to have been deeply involved in the scandal.

The parliamentary investigations may not have received tangible evidence to that effect, which we doubt, but the least the team should have done is to recommend further interrogations by anti-corruption agencies to determine whether or not she was involved in the scam.

But recommending a mere lifestyle audit is outlandish. A lifestyle audit is meaningless — any sensible person who knows he or she may be suspected of a scandal can hide the evidence.

Right from the onset, there were clear indications that the investigations would not achieve much.

It was more or less an attempt to launder some well-connected suspects.

This is precisely why the MPs had failed several times to conclude the report.

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