The new round of multi-million shilling National Youth Service (NYS) corruption cases could have been dealt a blow after sensational claims by a suspect that the lead investigator was a partner in the business deals he was investigating.
The suspect, a member of the Naivasha-based Ngirita family that is at the centre of what has come to be called 'NYS II' graft wave probe, claimed the lead investigator, Mike Julius Kingoo Muia, was their partner in a company that traded with NYS.
Jeremiah Gichini Ngirita swore an affidavit in which he has blatantly claimed Jerricathy Enterprises was among companies accused of defrauding money from NYS in the ongoing probe.
Mr Gichini and three other family members - Ann Wambere Ngirita, Lucy Ngirita and Phylis Njeri - are accused of receiving more than Sh100 million through three companies and are in remand waiting for a ruling on their bail application.
In his affidavit commissioned and annexed in court, Gichini said, “... our company has been actively trading with the National Youth Service in partnership with Mike Julius Kingoo Muia who is the Chief Investigating Officer in the NYS case since 2014.”
He added that they had been supplying hardware and renovating facilities at NYS in Gilgil.
Gichini claimed he had made several cash payments to Muia through his Co-operative Bank of Kenya account. He provided the account number.
“That however, in the recent past, business relationship between Mike Julius Kingoo Muia, myself and our family has gone sour,” he went on as he built his charge against the top detective.
Gichini said Muia vowed to use his position to deal with the family and that before their arrest on May 26, the officer called a meeting with his two sisters at Rafiki Club on Langata Road in Nairobi.
“That at the meeting, he (Muia) suggested that we should proceed to his residence and take refreshments, which we declined,” he claimed.
“That he then told us that he would take the statement of Ms Wambere Ngirita at his residence alone as they enjoy Black Label Whisky which we declined,” read the document.
Gichini further accused the police officer of making sexual advances on his sister.
“That on May 28, 2018, during the recording of statements, Mr Mike Julius Kingoo Muia assigned himself to write the statement of Ms Wambere and the said taking of statement lasted from 9am to 3pm where they constantly disagreed as a result of his sexual advances to her.”
He added that the cause of all the "false and malicious" allegations against him and his family was the business disagreements between them and the officer.
He attached a banking slip to support his claims of transferring Sh800,000 to Muia’s account in Gilgil.
But speaking to The Standard, Mr Muia denied the claims, saying they were part of a scheme by the lawyers and some of his colleagues to derail the case.
Muia once worked in Naivasha, where the Ngiritas come from, before he was moved to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters in Nairobi. He admitted to knowing the family but did not explain how.
He argued the money he received belonged to a 'Shylock' (informal lending) company from which his family had borrowed funds, which they paid through a cheque that bounced.
“They want to (jeopardise) a probe that is active. They gave a cheque that failed and the case is under investigation by DCIO Naivasha,” said Muia.
“I will confront the claims through an affidavit and face them. Their companies participated in the scam. I am not surprised by this move.”
Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti said he was not aware of the claims but promised to investigate them "at the right time".
Muia signed an affidavit to deny the 46 suspects bail.
All the suspects are charged with several counts ranging from conspiracy to commit economic crimes, willful failure to comply with procurement rules and abuse of office leading to the loss of Sh468 million.
The Anti-Corruption Court has declared the suspects "public enemies" who don’t deserve to be released on bail.
Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti’s decision to deny them bail means that the suspects, including Youth and Gender Affairs Principal Secretary Lillian Omollo and NYS Director General Richard Ndubai, will spend time in remand prison as the trial drags on.
They will know tomorrow if they will be released on bail.
The 10 companies involved in the probe are Annwaw Investment, Njewanga Investments, Arkroad Holdings Ltd, Kunjiwa Enterprises, Ameri Trade Ltd, Ngwiwaco Enterprises, Jerrycathy Enterprises, Firstling Supplies Ltd, Kalabash Food Supplies Ltd and Ersatz Enterprises.
The accused pleaded not guilty when they were arraigned two weeks ago.
Ms Omollo and Mr Ndubai also denied abuse of office charges levelled against them over their alleged role in the payment of Sh468 million to 10 companies, which investigators said supplied neither goods nor services to NYS.
Similar charges were denied by former acting NYS Director General Sammy Michuki, Senior Deputy Director Nicholas Ahere and acting Director of Finance Wellington Lubira, who are among 40 public servants accused of colluding to defraud the youth department.
Company directors and proprietors facing prosecution are Anne Ngirita, Phyllis Njeri, Catherine Mwai, Antony Wamiti, James Thuita and Yvonne Ngugi.
Others are Jeremiah Ngirita, Lucy Ngirita, Andrine Nyambura, Catherine Kamuyu, Serah Muguru, Samwel Kanai and James Katululu.