The Director of Public Prosecutions yesterday laid out his case against suspects accused of defrauding the National Youth Service.
DPP Noordin Haji, in a statement read by Assistant DPP Vera Hamisi, said he would demonstrate to the court that the 33 suspects had in one way or another participated in the scam.
According to the DPP, at least Sh8 billion was siphoned from the NYS coffers. Three firms – Ersatz Enterprises, Arkroad Holdings and Kalabash Food Supplies – are at the heart of the case.
“This case is against obscure but ruthless fly-by-night briefcase companies or business entities which swooped away a massive Sh60.5 million, being just a tip of the Sh8 billion siphoned from NYS,” said Mr Haji. “The prosecution shall demonstrate that the acts and omissions were not just negligent but well-calculated schemes to siphon public funds.”
Former principal secretary Lilian Omollo, former NYS director general Richard Ndubai and 31 others are the suspects in the case.
But in their rebuttal, defence lawyers Stephen Ligunya and Migos Ogamba told Milimani Magistrate Peter Ooko that the DPP did not have evidence to nail the suspects, adding that the charges brought against their clients were “generalised, amorphous and incapable of securing a conviction”.
"Her (Omollo) presence in this matter is the consequent effect of an overzealous prosecution and the Office of the DPP exercising that which can only be compared to dragnet trolling with an intent of catching anything and everything at the bottom of the sea,” said Mr Ligunya. The two lawyers said they would demonstrate to the court that Ms Omollo and Mr Ndubai installed mechanisms that saved the NYS Sh2.2 billion.
Haji, however, said he would prove that the suspects created fictitious pending bills and also manipulated the Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) to enable them to loot the money.
“The prosecution will also demonstrate that fictitious pending bills were created while the genuine pending bills were disregarded. They remain unpaid to date. There is primary evidence, expert witnesses and electronic evidence. Cooperating witnesses who were once accused persons are now State witnesses.”
The DPP claimed that the three firms were not pre-qualified suppliers.
The prosecution’s first witness, Joyce Ala, took the stand to explain how the procurement process works.
Ms Ala, a senior official at the Public Works ministry, said firms first go through a tender opening committee, which then forwards its findings to an evaluation committee. Lastly, a ministerial tender committee recommends firms that have qualified to supply various commodities. The case continues today.