A section of prospective beneficiaries of the “Mbele na Biz” initiative by World Bank and the Government of Kenya are now seeking investigation into the conduct of the managers, even as allegations of malpractices creep in.
The Ksh1.5 billion was launched three years ago by World Bank through the Micro and
Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA) and managed by KPMG and an independent panel of
KPMG and the judges were to review business plan ideas submitted by applicants. In the first phase, a total of 750 successful applicants were to be notified by end of the business plan competition and awarded as grants amounts between Ksh900,000 and Ksh3,600,000.
However, according to a letter addressed to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the individuals manning the process are accused of corruption, with a predetermined outcome having already been decided.
“With the competition being just completed, it has left so many questions on the
minds of Kenyan youths many wondering whether the entire program was governed by
principles of accountability and transparency. Majority of us participants feel that corruption
might have marred the entire process all the way from inception to how they have arrived at
the final list of beneficiaries,” the letter reads in part.
According to the letter, some of the 750 awardees are related/known to the “Mbele na Biz” team charged with selecting the winners.
“It has also been gathered from the social media groups that we share together as applicants that way long before the final announcement of the 750 winners, some of the applicants already knew who was in the list and who was not in the list (a list that has been kept confidential up to now) raising eyebrows of whether the process was compromised,” adds the letter.
KPMG and the judges have also not provided individual scores of the applicants.
The initiative is run under the Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project (KYEOP) banner.
“Mbele Na Biz aims to expand new and existing youth-led enterprises by providing them with grant funding and/or business plan training,” the managers say in the “Mbele na Biz” website.