Fresh details have emerged on how the Devolution ministry attempted to arm-twist Treasury officials to alter details of the controversial Sh826 million National Youth Service (NYS) payments in the electronic platform known as the Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (IFMIS).
Documents also show that Treasury Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge had, in a letter dated May 7, raised the red flag on the goings-on at the Devolution ministry by cautioning PS Peter Mangiti against engaging in improper financial procedures.
â€œWe wish to reiterate that it is a violation of the Public Finance Management Act, which states that it is an offence of financial misconduct if, without lawful authority, an officer incurs expenditure or makes a commitment on behalf of the government or entity since this results in pending bills,â€ Dr Thugge wrote.
According to documents seen by the Sunday Nation, just before the issue spilled over to the public, NYS deputy director Adan Gedow Harakhe tried to work backwards to correct the situation by calling on IFMIS director Jerome Ochieng to open up the accounting system to delete the payments.
â€œThe purpose of this letter is to request that various Local Purchase and Service Orders be reversed and be decommitted from the system. The officer from NYS who will execute this task is Ms Leah Guchuka,â€ wrote Mr Harakhe in a letter dated May 27.
Mr Harakhe argued that because his password had allegedly been stolen by unknown people, the payments should be deleted from the system in which funds are allocated for specific jobs undertaken by ministries to avoid pending bills. Opening the system would have freed the funds for NYS to use as it wished, contrary to the rules.
An official from the Treasury, who spoke in confidence, said that making changes on IFMIS entries without written authority from Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich acting on written instructions from the PS or Cabinet secretary of the concerned ministry would lead to a full-blown investigation by Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.
IFMIS was introduced to ensure transparency and accountability in procurement and payment in government.
SOURCE OF TENSION
On Thursday, Devolution CS Anne Waiguru said she had written to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations over attempts to steal Sh826 million from NYS. The appointment of Mr Harakhe to deputise NYS director-general Nelson Githinji has also been seen as a source of tension, something Ms Waiguru has denied.
Before the issue became public, Mr Harakhe had hit the panic button after an NYS officer (name withheld) who initiated the payments process in IFMIS to clear some bills in NYS pronects in Nairobiâ€™s Kibera and Mukuru settlements declined to alter the documents, saying it would be tantamount to interfering with police investigations.
The NYS has three IFMIS accounts: consultancies, food and civil works. The contentious funds had been committed for civil works projects.
Funds in each account must be used for a specific job allocated. NYS had encroached on the civil works account to pay other bills after exhausting funds in food and consultancy accounts.
The Treasury officials are said to have rejected Mr Harakheâ€™s request and asked for a letter from PS Mangiti, who is yet to commit himself on the issue a month later.
On Saturday, Ms Waiguru took to social media to circulate documents showing that she informed the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on June 5, more than a month after the incident. This was seen as an attempt to counter criticism on social media.
â€œI contacted the CID when Adan Harakhe informed me that his password had been stolen and money committed to NYS IFMIS,â€ Ms Waiguru said via her Twitter account.
In one of the letters, she asked DCI boss Ndegwa Muhoro to call in the Cybercrime Unit.