Fifty-two suspects facing charges in connection with Sh468 million National Youth Service (NYS) phase II scandal now want a three-judge bench to hear their cases.
In an urgent applications filed at the High Court, they want a bench of three judges appointed to hear the three separate cases pending before the Milimani anti-corruption court to ensure fair and speedy trial.
Last August, the court consolidated the 10 files involving the scandal which had been open by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) when they first appeared in court and categorised them into three separate case which are being presided over by Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti, Principal Magistrate Peter Ooko and Senior Principal Magistrate Lucas Onyina.
The cases were separated into three based on the transactions and companies that were awarded the alleged tenders to supply goods at NYS.
They want a bench constituted on grounds that each witness in the three cases prepared one witness statement and one set of documents for use in all the three cases.
"That the petitioners all face a threatened and continued violation of their absolute constitutional right to a fair hearing," says lawyer Stephen Ligunya for former Public Service and Youth Affairs Principal Secretary Lillian Omollo.
However, the DPP, through State counsel Caroline Kirimi, opposed the application saying the High Court has no jurisdiction to appoint the bench.
Ms Kirimi further says that petition does not meet the threshold for the requirements of a bench.