Four suspects in the second National Youth Service (NYS) scandal have been converted into State witnesses, the prosecution told a trial court yesterday.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji, through his assistant Joseph Riungu, further told Anti-Corruption court chief magistrate Douglas Ogoti that the charges against them had been withdrawn.
The four are now set to testify against former NYS Director General Richard Ndubai, former Youth and Gender Affairs Principal Secretary Lilian Omollo and 35 others.
“Four of the accused persons earlier charged will be State witnesses in the case on the loss of Sh231 million from the agency,” said Riungu.
However, the prosecution also urged the court to withdraw charges against the four whom the prosecution claimed did not have evidence against after reviewing their files.
The magistrate allowed the DPP’s request to withdraw the charges against Clara Mbau, Christopher Malala, Josephat Njoroge, Rodgers Nzioka, Lucas Otieno, Sammy Michuki, Simon Kiiru, and Stephen Muchai under Section 87A of the Criminal Procedure Code.
However, should the prosecution find further evidence, they might be charged afresh. The withdrawn charges are in respect of four of the case’ six files.
At the same time, the hearing of the case failed to kick off after the prosecution introduced new evidence and charges against the 37 accused persons.
Riungu told the court that the new charges were guided by witness statements and documents.
The defence asked for more time to get instructions from their clients after they denied 82 charges levelled against them by the State following consolidation of the four files.
Magistrate Ogoti allowed the application and warned the prosecution against adjourning the case again.
“For justice to be seen to be done, this court is adjourned. The prosecution team should avail those documents by 11am on Tuesday at the courts for collection by the counsels,” ruled Ogoti.
Earlier, the DPP, in his opening statement ahead of the trial, said he will prove that colossal amounts of money were paid as pending bills yet they did not fit the description as they were slotted into the NYS stock of pending bills.
“The 37 accused persons before the court are charged with the offences of conspiracy to commit an offence of economic crime, abuse of office, wilful failure to comply with applicable procedures and guidelines relating to management of public funds, neglect of official duties, fraudulently making payments, breach of trust, making documents without authority and uttering false documents,” said the prosecution.
Persons charged alongside Omollo and Ndubai include NYS senior deputy director Nicholas Ahere and finance director Wellington Lubira, Michael Ojiambo, Peter Muritu, David Maina, Tabitha Ndung’u, Sarah Muguru, Don Mwaniki, Sophy Karimi, Clement Murage and Jackson Athemboh.
They are alleged to have committed the offences on diverse dates between April 6, 2016 and April 30, 2017.
They were directed to remain on their earlier bond terms of Sh5 million bond, with a Sh2 million surety and Sh1 million cash bail. Hearing will resume tomorrow at 9am.