A former National Youth Service (NYS) boss and a former head of procurement are among 11 people implicated in the theft of millions of shillings at the State agency who were set free Monday.
Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji withdrew charges against them in the Sh468 million graft case.
Although he did not give reasons for the withdrawal of the charges, the DPP said he acted under Article 157(6)(c) of the Constitution, which allows him to discontinue charges at any stage before judgment.
The accused persons did not oppose the withdrawal of the charges as Principal Magistrate Peter Ooko ordered that their cash bail and sureties be returned to them.
Those whose charges were withdrawn include former acting director-general Sammy Michuki, former head of procurement at the Mechanical Transport Branch (MTB) Rodgers Nzioka, Simon Kanyi Kiiru, who also worked at MTB,
Stephen Riungu, a former internal auditor at the Treasury, Josephat Njoroge, who also worked as an internal auditor at the Treasury, and Lucas Otieno, an auditor. Also freed were Timothy Kiplagat Rotich, Charles Mulandi, Jackson Juma, Humphrey Odhiambo, and Bernard Masika.
So far, 51 suspects have been charged with the loss of the funds at the agency. All the suspects are out after signing a personal bond of Sh5 million, two sureties of Sh2 million and cash bail of Sh1 million, although some of them — especially junior civil servants--sought a review before the High Court and the amounts were reduced.
The accused persons face multiple charges of conspiracy to commit an economic crime, abuse of office and wilful failure to comply with procedures and guidelines relating to public financial management.
The trial failed to start as expected yesterday because two accused persons were not in court. Their lawyers told the magistrate that they were not aware of yesterday’s trial.
The court was also informed of a warrant of arrest for Samuel Otieno who is still at large. The 32 suspects who were in court, including PS Lillian Omollo, pleaded to the charges afresh after they were consolidated.
All the suspects denied the charge of conspiracy to commit corruption. The charge states that they conspired to defraud NYS Sh60,598,800.
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 authorsing payments to Arkroad Holdings Ltd and Andrine Grace Nyambura, who trades as Kalabash Food Supplies.
NYS Director-General Richard Ndubai also denied charges of abuse of office and wilful failure to comply with procurement laws when he allegedly authorised payments to Easatz Ltd and Arkroad Holdings.
The traders, who included Ms Nyambura, Catherine Kamuyu, Sarah Murugu, Anthony Makara Wamiti, and Peter Wagura Kimari denied fraudulently receiving payments from the NYS for goods not supplied.