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BREAKING: Why Uhuru has extended Huduma Namba registration deadline to May 25th

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President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday extended the deadline for Huduma Namba mass registration, a day to when the exercise was set to be completed.

He extended it by a week with the exercise expected to conclude on Saturday, 25th May 2019 at 6.00pm.

In a statement to newsrooms, the head of state noted that the long queues observed at the centres in the final days necessitated the extension.

“I have observed with concern the long queues formed during these final days of the exercise in different parts of the country. It brings to the fore an ingrained last-minute rush habit that holds us back. Nevertheless, Kenyans are determined to register for their Huduma Namba and I have obliged to the numerous requests to give them an opportunity to do so.

“I have directed the National Inter-ministerial Committee for implementation of this programme to extend the registration period for another 1 week. In this regard therefore, the exercise will effectively close on Saturday, 25th May 2019 at 6.00pm,” he stated.

He urged those who had not registered to take full advantage of this extension and not to wait until the last day.

President Uhuru Kenyatta registers for Huduma Namba at a function in Machakos earlier in the year. FILE PHOTO

“The Diaspora mass registration exercise which started on May 6th, 2019 will continue throughout all our missions globally and shall close on 20th June 2019.

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“I encourage each and every Kenyan to become a part of this momentous change that will help to positively transform Government delivery services for the benefit of all Citizens,” he added.

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How fake IDPS stole millions from State

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The government irregularly paid millions of shillings to people masquerading as internally displaced persons in the last financial year, according to a report by Auditor-General Edward Ouko that raises questions as to whether the anomalies were due to fraud or poor accounting practices.

The report, currently before the National Assembly for consideration, shows the money in question was part of Sh2.7 billion withdrawn from the National Humanitarian Fund at the National Treasury to help Kenyans displaced by, among others, resource conflicts and political violence.

Questionable payments running into tens of millions of shillings were made to people without national identity cards and to others who gave duplicate names.

Mr Ouko also notes that millions of shillings were spent on people who did not sign any vouchers.

As a result, he says, “although schedules of payment to internally displaced persons were provided for the audit review”, these anomalies put “the validity and propriety of the expenditures” to question.

The National Treasury was in charge of the fund, but the payment was overseen by the National Coordination Consultative Committee (NCCC) under the Devolution and Planning ministry.

County commissioners that work under the Interior ministry coordinated the county payments.

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The Sh2.7 billion was part of a Sh20 billion compensation scheme for IDPs then President Mwai Kibaki’s administration launched during his last term in office. The payment entailed wiring the monies directly to the victims’ bank accounts.

In 2013, the Jubilee administration took over the compensation scheme, but corrupt cartels infiltrated the process and registered bogus IDPs at a fee. The fake IDPs later benefited from the fund at the expense of the genuine ones.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly, which is chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, is currently scrutinising the report.

PAC has lined up retinue of witnesses, among them National Treasury Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge, for interrogation.

The report shows that Sh17.8 million was paid to IDPs from 16 counties with duplicate names. Further, for every duplicate name, according to Mr Ouko, only one matched the identification card number provided. The other similar name whose identification card number was provided appeared to belong to a different person, according to data from the National Registration Bureau (NRB).

“Consequently, the validity and propriety of the payments amounting to Sh17.8 million could not be confirmed,” Mr Ouko says.

Scrutiny of the list of IDPs from Turkana, who fall under the category of resource-based conflict, revealed that Sh4.6 million was paid to individuals who did not have national identification cards.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Kenyans in US register for Huduma Namba

This makes it difficult to confirm whether the IDPs paid were indeed Kenyans or individuals who had crossed over from other areas, including from the neighbouring Uganda and South Sudan.

The report further notes that a sampled list of IDPs’ national identity card numbers revealed that payments amounting to Sh250,000 were made to people whose national identity card numbers did not exist in government databases. This makes it difficult to confirm the validity and propriety of the payments.

The report also notes that there were not expenditure vouchers for Sh7.3 million spent on the construction of IDPs’ houses in Turkana. Another Sh6.6 million, claimed to have been used to run the administrator’s office, was not accounted for.

In June last year, Nakuru High Court Judge Joel Ngugi ordered a fresh vetting of all IDPs in the country who had benefited from the government’s Sh6.5 billion compensation fund.

The money was spent during the 2015/16 financial year as the Jubilee administration campaigned to ensure that all those displaced by the 2007/08 post-election violence were finally settled.

The beneficiaries included those who had already integrated with other communities.

The order came after a group of IDPs claimed that a list of beneficiaries provided by the Interior ministry contained 96,000 fake recipients. They claimed that the list contained names of government officials, and that it also contained numerous duplications.

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There also was disparity in the payouts as some members received Sh400,000 while others got as low as Sh10,000.

Detectives from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations are pursuing the matter.

In 2017, then Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, now in charge of the Agriculture docket, reported that the government had disbursed slightly over Sh17.5 billion as compensation to IDPs.

By Nation.co.ke

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Haji orders arrest of CS Rotich, top State officers over dams scam

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The Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji has ordered the arrest of senior government officials over fraud linked to two multi-purpose dams in Kerio Valley Key among those to be arrested include Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich (National Treasury), PS National Treasury Kamau Thuge, Dr Susan Koech PS East Africa Community, David Kipchumba Kimosop MD Kerio Valley Development Authority, Kennedy Nyakundi (National Treasury), Titus Mureithi and Jackson Njau Kinyanjui among others.

Haji said the officials broke the law on public finance management and flouted procurement rules and committed illegalities in the Arror and Kimwarer dams fraud.He said he has gathered sufficient evidence to prosecute the perpetrators.  “The persons we are prosecuting today were mandated to safeguard public interest but failed,” he said.

According to DPP, the Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) flouted the procurement rules in handing the Arror and Kimwarer dams contract to CMC di Ravenna in which the contract was inflated by Sh17 billion from the initial Sh46 billion.

He says the contractor (CMC di Ravenna) also submitted a design of the dams four years after the required time.

“We borrowed, the loan had an interest, borrowed more money to pay for the interest, this is massive loss of public finance.”On July 10, 2019, a team of top Kenyan security officials flew to Italy to recover money paid by Treasury for stalled Sh65 billion Arror and Kimwarer dams in Elgeyo Marakwet County.

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Sources told The Standard that Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti and select State Law Office officers arrived in Italy with evidence of the said fraud to convince their Italian counterparts for action.

Part of the evidence was the Auditor General’s report that showed more than Sh4 billion was paid for the stalled work. The team had met Italian ambassador to Kenya Alberto Pieria and talked about fighting graft and related crimes.

“The discussions centred on possible collaboration between Italy, EACC, DCI and ODPP on capacity building, mutual legal assistance and investigation in combating corruption,” said Twalib Mbarak, the EACC CEO.

While in Italy, the team sought to meet an Italian Government-owned insurer, Service Assicurativi Del Comercio Estero (SACE), which was paid Sh11.1 billion as an insurance premium for a loan to build the two dams.“We are paying interest on a loan that we don’t know about. In fact, we may default and that is why the team is in Italy to see how we can have the money back,” said an official who was aware of the issue.

Another official said: “The deal was government-to-government; however it has now turned commercial. We cannot secure a loan and also pay for the insurance of the same.”

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He regretted that the loan had matured and that the government was required to start serving it without a project on-site.

National Treasury CS Henry Rotich paid Sh11.1 billion as the insurance premium for the Sh65 billion loan to build the two dams.Experts say this suggests that Kenya paid 15 times over the fair rate to the Italian government-owned credit insurer for insuring the loans procured from a consortium of banks led by Intesa San Paolo.

This formed a subject of interest for investigators to determine why SACE charged 17.5 per cent of the loan amount as premium, against industry rates averaging 1.5 per cent.Rotich said his ministry was not involved after project identification, prioritisation and procurement were completed by the line ministry and the implementing agency, Kerio Valley Development Authority.

Rotich also acknowledged that he released Sh7.8 billion to KVDA for onward transmission to CMC di Ravenna, as an advance payment to help kick start the project.

By Standard

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Why it’s hard to stop betting

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In probability, if you toss a coin, you cannot get a head and a tail at the same time. It is one or the other, a gamble. This is what betting is about — you win or lose, there is no middle ground.

Yet, thousands of young Kenyans are addicted to gambling. A GeoPoll report in 2017 shows that the country has the highest number of gamblers in sub — Saharan Africa, with sports betting the most popular form of gambling. Further, 40 percent of low-income consumers are unemployed and 29 percent are students.

The government’s refusal to renew the licences for some betting companies comes at a time when many individuals are addicted to betting and have turned it into an income-generating activity.

Is it the allure of quick riches?

Abigail Khamati, 32, has been betting for the last four years and the government’s move has left her without a stable source of income. She acknowledges that betting is her biggest hustle and yes, the thought of making instant riches excites her.

“I depend on what I get from betting to meet most of my expenses, say house rent and other personal needs,” she says. “Using the money earned from gambling, I was able to start a side hustle — selling men’s clothes.”

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Although she is addicted to betting, she is quick to defend herself as a responsible gambler.

“I am a football fan. My favourite team is Arsenal and I started betting because I realised that I was good at predicting the outcome of football matches. What began as a pastime became a good source of income,” she offers.

“It derives some attributes from business; you have to be resilient and willing to take risks. I spend Sh10,000 to Sh 20,000 every weekend. I decided to bet only on weekends because that is when there are more matches and I can concentrate fully.” she says.

“Should I lose a game, I take a break, say one day, then start betting again. Last year, I lost more than Sh100,000 but also made more than that. At one time, I placed a Sh1,500 bet and won Sh 80,000,” she offers.

While she has lost thousands, of shillings, she is not ready to stop because of the returns, and the fact that it is instant money.

Clare Sunguti, 29, comes from a betting family. Her father and six siblings are also into betting, which she considers too inviting to stop. “I am not a football fan but I was inspired by my brother when he won Sh64,000 in December 2016. At home, we would regularly contribute money and bet. Once we won Sh 110,000 and my brothers encouraged me to start playing solo,” she says.

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Advances in technology have made it easier to bet. Those without, say football knowledge, can ask for tips and odds through the various social media platforms.

Sunguti is a marketer by profession and sells cosmetics and groundnuts on the side. Whatever profits she makes, she channels into betting. not borrow or take loans to place bets,” she offers.

Meanwhile, just the mention of betting brings bad memories to Stephen Muriithi, whose name we changed to protect his privacy.

The former bank teller was introduced to betting by a customer in 2016, and it led to his downfall, including his job.

He started by using Sh500 a day before doubling the amount. But even the loss of Sh50,000 did not bring him back to his senses.

“By the time the bank fired me, I had exhausted my savings and was more than Sh300,000 in debt. It took my mother and a few friends to get me out of betting,” he says.

Isaac Maweu, a counselling psychologist, classifies gambling as a process addiction like pornography.

“Most people bet with the expectation of winning big and whenever they lose, the mind is conditioned to think that they might win the following day, so they continue. Before you know it, you are addicted.

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The process brings about various effects such as anxiety, depression, criminal activities to support the behaviour, guilt and strained relationships,” he says, adding that it is possible to get out of it through self-regulation and commitment.

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