Ex-NYS chief walks free on EACC hitch

Nelson Gitau Githinji, former director of the NYS. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Nelson Gitau Githinji, former director of the NYS. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Former director of the National Youth Service (NYS) Nelson Gitau Githinji is a free man after the anti-corruption court discharged him from charges of abuse of office and fraudulent acquisition of public property.

Senior principal magistrate Lucas Onyina Onyango Wednesday terminated the case following a recent decision of the Court of Appeal which ruled that cases started against suspects when the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) had no commissioners were irregular.

Mr Githinji had been accused of fraudulently acquiring public property after spending Sh497,355 taxpayers cash on June 10, 2014 to service and repair his private vehicle KBS 475S purporting to be the cost used to repair a government vehicle.

The discharge points to possibility of dismissal of other NYS cases in which taxpayers lost nearly Sh2 billion through fraudulent transactions.

Mr Onyina stopped the trial of Mr Githinji, chief inspector at NYS Nicholas Juma Makokha and senior superintendent mechanic at the motor vehicles workshop Geoffrey Kimani Kiriha. 

The three had also been charged with conspiring to defraud NYS of Sh497,355 by allegedly facilitating the service and repair of Mr  Githinji’s private vehicle.

The five counts of abuse of office, conspiracy to defraud and fraudulent acquisition of public property had been filed against the three civil servants by the Director of Public Prosecutions, who withdrew them. A defence lawyer Philip Mutake had applied to have the three acquitted in light of the judgment of the Court of Appeal that quashed permanently prosecutions undertaken after EACC commissioners quit office.

The magistrate said he is bound by the Court of Appeal judgment that quashed corruption cases against former Cabinet Secretaries  Michael Kamau (transport) and  Charity Ngilu (now Kitui Governor) when EACC had no commissioners.

“I have considered all the evidence... the application of acquittal is not improper. The prosecution case is hereby closed and the accused discharged.”