By: VINCENT AGOYA
The Devolution and Planning principal secretary and the National Youth Service (NYS) boss have been charged with embezzling public funds in the ministry.
The wheels of justice started to roll on Wednesday when PS Peter Mangiti and NYS Director-General Nelson Githinji were charged with attempting to induce the senior deputy director-general in charge of administration, Mr Adan Harakhe “not to follow up the matter relating to the conspiracy” to steal money from the government.
The two senior officials were among 26 suspects charged over the loss of Sh791 million from the NYS.
In the case, Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru is listed as the first prosecution witness.
The prosecution alleged that Mr Mangiti and Dr Githinji threatened their colleague, also a prosecution witness, with dire consequences unless he dropped his pursuit of the matter.
They denied that between May 27, 2015 and June 19, 2015 in Nairobi, they jointly attempted to induce Mr Harakhe “to fail in his duty by dissuading, threatening and intimidating him with consequences should he continue following up the matter relating to the conspiracy to steal Sh695,400,000 with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations”.
Mr Mangiti and Dr Githinji have been released on a bond of Sh20 million each with alternative cash bail of Sh3 million.
However, their lawyer, Mr Kioko Kilukumi, has raised a preliminary objection against the charge, stating that it is a figment of the prosecution’s creation as it is “unknown and thus invalid in law”.
Other top officials who were charged with abuse of office, breach of trust and falsification of documents included a supply chain management assistant, a director of finance, a procurement officer and accountants who were accused of arbitrarily facilitating fraudulent payment leading to the loss of Sh791,000,000 from the NYS.
They, too, were released on similar bond terms.
The prosecution said that the 14 officials “jointly conspired with others not before court” to fleece the government between December 1, 2014 and April 30, 2015.
A separate charge of engaging in organised crime was also levelled against the NYS administrators.
The prosecution said that between December 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015 at the NYS headquarters in Nairobi, Ms Regina Nyambura Mungai, Ms Josephine Kaburu Irungu, Mr Peter Omari Otuoma and Ms Caroline Njambi Kinuthia abetted the theft of Sh695,400,000 belonging to the government.
Ms Nyambura was further charged with making a false document on December 1, 2014.
She is alleged to have forged a local purchase order purported to have been issued by the NYS.
Another accountant, Mr Hendrick Nyongesa, was charged with making a false ministry of public works supplies branch circular serial number R03/2011-2012, purported to have been issued by the said ministry.
An abuse of office charge was also read out to officials including the supply chain assistant, a senior supply chain management officer, a principal supply chain officer, a director of finance, a procurement officer, a quarter master and an internal auditor, who were all implicated in facilitating fraudulent payments.
The suspects also faced a 10th count of breach of trust, stating that while employed in public service in their respective posts, they processed payments that led to the loss of Sh791,385,000 at the NYS headquarters in Nairobi.
NOT IN COURT
Some of the suspects who were not present in court on Wednesday are expected to appear on Thursday to answer to similar charges.
On Wednesday, prosecutor Alloys Kemo told the court that the police were yet to take their fingerprints. He said he had no instruction to oppose the granting of bail for the suspects.
In releasing the suspects, Nairobi Chief Magistrate Daniel Ogembo said he had “taken into account the seriousness of the offences and the severity of punishment that the alleged crimes may attract upon conviction”.
“Bond being a constitutional right, I thus admit them to the stated terms,” he said.
The PS and the director were only charged with “tampering with public officers” in relation to the Sh791 million scandal.
Another suspect, Mr Benson Gethi, who is charged alongside the suspects, was also not in court.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION