Fresh details of NYS scam suspects’ roles in payouts

Details have emerged of specific roles played by key individuals linked to the Sh9 billion scandal at National Youth Service (NYS), that the prosecution will rely on in its case.

Documents filed in court reveal the responsibility of each of the suspects, who were arrested and charged on Tuesday, including Public Service and Youth Affairs Principal secretary Lillian Mbogo Omollo and National Youth Service (NYS) director-general Richard Ndubai.

Charges each individual faces are linked to the varied payouts of cash amounting to almost Sh500 million to companies that supplied virtually nothing to the youth agency.

Omollo, the main accounting officer when the fraudulent payments were made, and Ndubai bear the brunt of the charges, having signed most of the payment vouchers.

Ndubai is also alleged to have appointed the verification committee that included names of companies linked to the theft.

Willingtone Agenyu Lubira, who was director of finance at NYS, is accused of having signed most of the approvals for the shady payments as the first authoriser in the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS).

Prosecution documents also show that Sammy Mbugua, who was the head of accounts in Public Service ministry, was the last person in line of the payment through internet banking and is accused of authorising payment vouchers without requisite signatures and Local Purchase Orders (LPOs).

Clement Murage, a former chief accountant, played a central role in the transactions by signing fraudulent vouchers. Samuel Otieno will be accused as having been the first person to enter fraudulent vouchers into the IFMIS systems at the accounts section without exercising due diligence.

Peter Muthomi Muguongo, being an internal auditor at the National Treasury, is alleged to have been a member of the second verification committee that okayed fraudulent payments to some companies under investigation.

Another suspect, Ezekiel Ambaso Osoro, a staff at NYS, is alleged to have done inspection and acceptance of the goods which were never supplied.

At the same time Catherine Njeri Kamuyu, Sarah Murugu, Andrine Grace Mbare are accused of having been trading as Ersatz Enterprises and to have been paid Sh26,660,000 though they did not supply hammers as indicated.

Court documents show how a supplier, Ann Wanjiku Ngirita, was paid Sh59 million after supplying no goods to NYS. The revelations are contained in case files of  20 of 54 suspects who were charged in court on Tuesday evening and remanded pending their bail application ruling.

The Director of Public Prosecutions,  who preferred multiple counts relating to theft of Sh468 million from NYS against the suspects, objected to their release on bail, saying it was likely to prejudice the case.

“We are opposed to their release on bail as they are a flight risk and are likely to abscond,” said senior assistant DPP Emily Kamau.

Charges against the 20 were read out to them on Tuesday in a long and slow process that lasted over 12 hours before Anti-Corruption Court magistrate Douglas Ogoti

The accused persons denied the charges relating to abuse of office, conspiracy to commit an offence of economic crimes, wilful failure to comply with laws, and theft of public property.

About 100 defence lawyers present sought to have their clients released on bail pending hearing and determination of the case. Omollo and Ndubai are being represented by lawyers Davis Osiemo, Stephen Ligunya and Cliff Ombeta.   

Also present were lawyers Gachie Mwanza, Kihanga Mwangi, Getange Tom, Sam Ogutu and Miguos Ogamba, among others for the other accused persons.

PS Omollo told the court that claims by the prosecution that she would abscond court because of the serious offences facing her  could not stand, adding that, so far, been cooperating with investigators and is incapable of tampering with any evidence relating to NYS.

Lawyer Ligunya said: “She is not a risk to public property. She has been a leader in this country and still remains to be one.”

At the same time the magistrate ordered 13 suspects who failed to show up on Tuesday to plead to charges to appear before the Directorate of Criminal Investigations today.

He issued the orders following an application by the prosecutor Kamau, who had initially sought their summons but later changed his mind after the defence opposed the application.

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