The trial of 32 people charged with corruption in the alleged loss of Sh60.5 million at the National Youth Service (NYS) has been adjourned after the prosecution added new charges.
Arguing before principal magistrate Peter Ooko, lawyers said Tuesday the charges, which the prosecution amended, introduced new details and timelines on the dates the alleged offence.
Stephen Ligunya, who represents former PS Lillian Omollo, said the new charge sheet introduced additional charges against her, which changes the approach of the case. He said he needed to seek instructions from Ms Omollo, especially due to the voluminous documents he has to go through.
Other advocates including Kiraithe Wandugi, Migos Ogamba and Assa Nyakundi supported the sentiments. Although the prosecution opposed the application, Mr Ooko agreed to adjourn the case until Monday, to allow the defence lawyers to scrutinise the documents. The magistrate warned the prosecution against introducing new documents unless with the permission of the court.
The magistrate said the prosecution had admitted that it provided the consolidated charge sheet to the accused persons on Monday and that some of the suspects pleaded to the charges yesterday.
“In the interest of justice, I am inclined to grant the defence three days for them to prepare for the trial,” he said.
Mr Samuel Otieno, who was yet to be arrested since other suspects were arraigned in May, was brought to court after being arrested.
Prosecutor Verah Amisi told the court that Mr Otieno was picked from his offices on Monday evening, adding that his mobile phone had been off for several months. But through his lawyer David Oyata, Mr Otieno said he was never informed of the charges and he was a civil servant at the Trade ministry.
The lawyer said it was not true that Mr Otieno had been on the run and asked the court to reject the application to impose stringent bond terms against him.
In the ruling, Mr Ooko said directed Mr Otieno to deposit the bond terms imposed on other accused persons.
Among the persons facing the charges are Ms Omollo, former NYS director-general Richard Ndubai, ex-senior deputy director Nicholas Ahere, former acting finance officer Willington Lubira and former chief accountant Clement Murage, among others.
Also charged are directors of three companies which were allegedly paid for goods not supplied. The traders include Andrine Grace Nyambura, Catherine Kamuyu, Sarah Murugu, Anthony Makara Wamiti and Peter Wagura Kimari.
All the suspects denied a charge of conspiracy to commit corruption after they allegedly conspired to defraud the NYS about Sh60.5 million.
It is alleged that they committed the offence between April 6, 2016, and April 27, 2017.
Ms Omollo denied three counts of abuse of office and a similar number of counts of wilful failure to comply with procurement laws by authorising payments to Arkroad Holdings Ltd and Andrine Grace Nyambura, who trades as Kalabash Food Supplies.
The case was adjourned to January 15.