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Cabinet unlocks Sh14 billion for genuine NYS suppliers

Genuine individuals and firms that supplied goods and services to the National Youth Service (NYS) will finally be paid.

No payments have been made since the first and second NYS scandals where billions of shillings are said to have been paid to fictitious companies and individuals.

On Thursday, President Uhuru Kenyatta chaired a Cabinet meeting at State House, Nairobi and was briefed on the status of the pending bills.

“The Cabinet was briefed on the status of outstanding payments in the Prisons Department and the National Youth Service (NYS), and resolved to set up a Sh14 billion special fund to pay genuine suppliers,” a statement from State House read in part.

Since 2015, five verification committees of pending bills have been established and companies cleared for payments are yet to be paid.

Other forms of pain

Some of the genuine NYS tell horror stories of death, broken marriages, auctions, evictions, enemies, blacklisting by the banks and other forms of pain all related to unpaid-for supplies to the NYS.

Since 2015, they have not been paid. All they have are promises, hopes and faith as guiding light on a journey whose end they can’t foretell as those who supplied air to NYS eat life with a big spoon.

In 2014, NYS procured goods and services from various suppliers and contractors under presidential directive in line with government economic stimulus programme for youth and women empowerment, poverty eradication and the five pillars of NYS reform agenda.

Suppliers would supply goods and services on the request of NYS staff who promised to formalise their contracts, citing urgency and the demand to fulfil the presidential directive.

All was running smoothly until the first NYS scandal in which Sh791 million was stolen in the financial year 2014/2015.

Seeking their payments

The scandal that saw the then Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru resign was the beginning of the painful journey in seeking their payments.

But things got worse in 2015 after Ms Waiguru’s office clashed with then NYS Director-General Nelson Githinji.

Mr Adan Halake was brought in by the ministry and assigned duties previously done by Githinji.

For instance, Mr Halake became the holder of Authority to Incur Expenses (AIE) and was in charge of approving all the payments at the NYS.

The change of the AIE holder brought about confusion and, according to the suppliers, it contributed a lot in frustrating genuine suppliers by blocking formalisation of their supplies so that they could claim payments.

It is during this season that some individuals currently in court for NYS II were paid millions of shillings for phantom supplies.

And the pain persisted for genuine suppliers. Some said they had invested everything they had in the hope of getting handsome returns.