The magistrate who sent former Nairobi Town Clerk John Gakuo and three other former public officials to prison for corruption is the same one handling the cases of the over 40 suspects in the National Youth Service scandal.
Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti made news in May when he sent Gakuo and former Permanent Secretary Sammy Kirui to three years in prison for abuse of office over the loss of over Sh280 million meant for cemetery land in Nairobi. He also fined them Sh1 million each.
The same Milimani Anti-Corruption court magistrate ordered a former Huduma Centre official to pay a fine of Sh500,000 after he found her guilty of receiving a bribe of Sh2,500 to facilitate the processing of a birth certificate for a parent.
IN THE LINE OF FIRE
Mr Ogoti directed that Ms Justinah Syonzua Malela, a former clerk at a Huduma Centre in Kibera, spend two years in prison if she fails to pay the fine.
And now the tough-talking magistrate has been tasked with the trial of one of the biggest scandals in recent years — the loss of Sh468 million at the National Youth Service.
Among the big names in the scandal are suspended Public Service Principal Secretary Lillian Omollo, former NYS Director-General Richard Ndubai and a host of public officials accused of conspiracy to defraud, abuse of office and false accounting among other charges.
Among the suspects are David Kirui, Timothy Kiplagat Rotich and Ezekiel Osoro – who allegedly collected foodstuffs from the NYS stores and signed acceptance forms for goods that were never supplied in the first place.
Others are chief accountant Clement Murage, Michael Ojiambo the director, administration at the Ministry of Youth and Gender Affairs, Lucas Owino Otieno, the internal auditor at the National Treasury, all of whom were in the ministry’s verification committee and alleged approved payments to the companies that received hundreds of millions of shillings irregularly.
A total of 22 individuals and five companies were in court on Tuesday and the accused persons sat for more than 10 hours as the charges were being read to them.
Mr Ogoti also had to deal with some 17 suspects who failed to appear in court.
He directed them to present themselves before the Directorate of Criminal Investigations by Thursday.
They were held after showing up for “processing”.
The magistrate, who directed that all the suspects be remanded, is set to deliver a ruling on their bail application on Tuesday next week.
The suspects, through their lawyers, pleaded with the court to be freed on bond, arguing that it was their constitutional right.
The prosecution on the other hand wanted them kept in custody as the investigators completed their investigations.
On Thursday, Chief Justice David Maraga told President Uhuru Kenyatta that the Judiciary would cooperate in tackling corruption.
“We know you have declared war against corruption, and I want to tell you, Mr President, we are with you. You can count on the Judiciary.”
- PS Lillian Omollo: Abuse of office and failure to comply with procedures relating to management of public funds.
- Richard Ndubai: Abuse of office and failure to comply with procedures relating to management of public funds.
- Sammy Mbugua Mwangi: Fraudulently making payments from public revenue for goods not supplied.
- Rodgers Nzioka: False accounting by a public officer and abuse of office.
- Phillis Njeri Ngirita: Fraudulent acquisition of public property.
- Stella Chepkemboi Biwott: False accounting by a public officer.
- Sammy Michuki: False accounting by a public officer and abuse of office.
- Tabitha Nduati: Fraudulently false accounting by public officer.
- Catherine Mwai: Fraudulent acquisition of public property as a director of Arkroad Holding Ltd.
- Evans Wafula Kundu: False accounting by a public officer and abuse of office.
- Christopher Malala Simbauni: Abuse of office.
- Jeremiah Gichini Ngirita:Fraudulent acquisition of public property.
- Anne Wambere Ngirita: Fraudulent acquisition of public property.
- Lucy Wambui Ngirita: Fraudulent acquisition of public property.
- James Nderitu: Fraudulent acquisition of public property as a director of Firstling.
- Welenano Mulupi: False accounting by a public officer.
- Keziah Wanjugu Mwangi: Making a false document and false accounting by a public officer.
- Jamal Galgalo: False accounting by a public officer.
- Sophy Karimi Kinyua: False accounting by a public officer and abuse of office.