No word on 4 NYS suspects as trials enter second week

Lillian Mbogo Omollo
Ex-Public Service and Youth PS Lillian Mbogo Omollo. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The anti-corruption court and the prosecution have kept silent on the four suspects linked to the loss of Sh468 million at the National Youth Service (NYS) who remain at large, even as the trials over the theft entered week two.

The four are Charles Makau Mulandi, a former member of the tender verification committee at the NYS, Samuel Otieno (described as an invoicer at NYS), Patrick Obunya (a former NYS employee), and a Mr Humphrey Odhiambo.

On Tuesday, senior principal magistrate Lucas Onyina called out the names of the four as the trial for the second batch of NYS scandal suspects started.

The court on August 22 issued warrants for their arrest amid speculation they are hiding outside the country.

The prosecution has so far not made fresh reports to court about the four amid claims of plans to convert them into prosecution witnesses.

Dozens of suspects have been charged with the loss of the funds at the agency.

The first batch of trials started last week with a supplies official explaining the procurement process and the firms that successfully won tenders for the supply of foodstuff to the NYS.

On Tuesday, the court heard that some 35 individuals, among them former Public Service and Youth Principal Secretary Lilian Omollo and three companies, will plead to fresh charges in relation to the loss of Sh167.7 million at the NYS.

The prosecution said it had amended some charges and consolidated the cases against the accused.

It will also be dropping charges against some accused persons, including Rodgers Nzioka, a former head of mechanic transport branch (MTB) procurement.

His lawyer, Assa Nyakundi, however, said he will oppose the withdrawal of the charges under section 87(a) of criminal procedure code, which means they can be arrested in future.

The magistrate directed the parties to appear before him on November 30 to canvass issues they raised.

In the second batch of the cases, Ms Omollo, former NYS Director General Richard Ndubai and 28 former public officials are accused of conspiracy to commit an economic crime by allowing the payment of Sh167,715,700 to three companies including Firstling Limited, Kunjiwa Enterprises and Ameritrade Limited.

Among the charges Ms Omollo will face are three counts of abuse of office and a similar number of counts for willful failure to comply with procedures and guidelines relating to management of public funds.

She is alleged to have authorised the payment of Sh115 million to Firstling, approving the payment of Sh28.7 million to Ameritrade and payment of Sh23.4 million to Kunjiwa.

The directors of Firstling James Thuita and Yvone Wanjiku are accused of fraudulent acquisition of public funds, while Ms Catherine Waniku Mwai of Kunjiwa will face a similar charge.

The accountants including Isaiah Chapia, Keziah Wanjugu, Timothy Kiplagat and Jackson Juma are accused of false accounting, while others are accused of signing inspection and clearance forms, which occasioned the loss of public funds.