The members of a family, one of whom allegedly told investigators she was paid a whopping Sh59 million for supplying nothing to the National Youth Service (NYS), now say they cannot afford Sh8 million bond each.
Even after spending more than two weeks in remand cells, the five — Ann Wambere Wanjiku Ngirita, her mother Lucy Wambui, sister Njeri Ngirita, brother Jeremiah Gichini and his wife Catherine Mwai — appeared not in a hurry to seize the opportunity for freedom.
Through their lawyer Cliff Ombeta, they told the trial court that they could not afford the bond terms granted by the High Court.
The Ngiritas, who have become the face of the second scandal at the NYS, were among the 48 suspects who were granted Sh5 million bond, surety of Sh2 million and Sh1 million bail each on Tuesday.
Ombeta urged the court to vary their bond terms saying they could not afford to bail themselves out as the whole family is in custody. He said his clients could not also access their money after their bank accounts were frozen.
“Some of my clients can’t meet the bond terms. I urge the court to vary the same. The Ngiritas are a family and nobody came to bail them out,”said Ombeta.
The lawyer said the Ngiritas require five sureties each worth Sh2 million to secure their release and that would be difficult since all of them are family members.
The court heard that the accused persons’ 113 accounts held in 13 banks were frozen as detectives investigated the scandal.
“How are they going to finance their case yet they have no access to their accounts? The State is also snooping in our accounts. This is not fair and you need to give us directions on this,” said Ombeta.
Milimani Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti directed that the bond variation request be raised before the trial court.
“I ask them to raise the issue with the trial court once hearing kicks off,” he said. At the same time, the court adjourned the pre-trial conference for the 48 suspects in the NYS scandal to July 17.
Ogoti set the date as defence lawyers protested that the Director of Public Prosecutions is yet to furnish them with original witness statements and other documentary evidence to be relied on in the trial.
The defence informed the court that due to the gravity of the accusations, they needed to be well prepared and that their clients had been in custody for almost three weeks and had not been able to instruct them accordingly.