Police find fresh Sh1.2b NYS dodgy payments

President Uhuru Kenyatta hands a trophy to one of the NYS recruit during their pass out parade at Gilgil training college. /PATRICK VIDIJA
President Uhuru Kenyatta hands a trophy to one of the NYS recruit during their pass out parade at Gilgil training college. /PATRICK VIDIJA

Police investigating the latest National Youth Service scandal have unearthed more dubious payments totalling Sh1.2 billion.

Peter Ngumi from the Assets Recovery Agency and investigating officer Frederick Musyoki have told the court that they came across suspicious payments to companies and individuals, which initially had not been reported.

"Upon analysing the bank statements and documents concerning the accounts of the respondents, I established that they received funds fraudulently from the NYS and associates split it in several transactions," Musyoki said in a statement to the court dated December 5.

Court documents detailing the Sh1.2 billion are in the Star's possession.

The total amount of missing or misspent funds is not known, though the initial estimate in the second NYS scandal was Sh9 billion. Suspects have been charged, however, in connection with the loss of a much smaller amount, Sh468 million, though authorities say the total lost may be much higher.

Documents attached to an application filed by the Assets Recovery Agency in the Anti-Corruption Court show that Firstling Supplies received Sh795,199,245.65 million from NYS between July 4 and 13 in 2017. Flagstone Merchants Limited received Sh195,176,275.85 million from NYS on March 21, 2017.

The directors of two companies are among many suspects facing various charges in relation to the NYS II scandal.

The court documents further show another company called Excella Supplies received Sh188,980,602 from NYS and associates. A businesswoman known as Betty Omondi received from NYS and associates a total of Sh8.6 million on diverse dates in the months of February, April and July of 2017.

Last Friday, Anti-Corruption Court judge Hedwig Ong'udi issued a new order freezing seven accounts containing a total of Sh35 million believed to be the proceeds of money laundering.

Her order stops the withdrawal or transferring of money from any of the accounts and will be in place for at least 90 days.

The judge gave the order on the strength of an affidavit sworn by investigating officer Musyoki.

The accounts affected by the order belong to James Thuita Nderitu, Flagstone Merchants limited, Firstling Supplies Limited, Excella Supplies Limited, Betty Omondi, Flagstone Company Limited, Interscope Tech & Services and Ellywyn Supplies. The accounts are at Equity Bank, Barclays Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.

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Of the eight, three are facing charges in relations to the NYS scam. They are Nderitu, Flagstone Merchants Limited and Firstling Supplies limited.

In its application, the Assets Recovery Agency told the court that the money in question is believed to have been received as payment from NYS into different accounts, which were later transferred to other accounts belonging to family members and associates of the suspects.

"The money received from NYS and associates through their business entity and personal accounts was further intra-transferred into accounts owned by their family members/associates," the investigating officer said.

The agency pleaded with the court, saying that if it fails to grant the orders sought, then the economic advantage derived from commission of crime will continue to benefit a few, to the disadvantage of general public interest.

Musyoki in his affidavit says that on April 26, 2018, he received information about investigations at NYS being conducted by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

Subsequently some suspects were charged and on May 30 and June 6 he got an order freezing their accounts.

The agency urged the court to consider giving fresh orders, as earlier one was expiring on December 7.

It expressed fears that if the order was not extended, there will be a likelihood that the people behind the accounts in question will withdraw the money.

"The said order will lapse on 7th December and there is imminent danger that the respondents shall withdraw, spend or dissipate the said funds, rendering this preservation application and intended forfeiture application nugatory," the suit papers said.

Musyoki added, "In the interest of justice that the preservative orders do issue prohibiting the respondents jointly or singly or their agents from dealing in any manner with the aforementioned funds and accounts."

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The agency said that the accounts were used as conduits for money laundering and justice demands that they be frozen, pending determination of the case.

So far 54 suspects are in court over irregular payments amounting to Sh468 million in National Youth Service scam.

They include former Principal Secretary for Youth and Gender Affairs Lillian Omollo and former NYS director general Richard Ndubai.

The first batch involves 35 individuals facing charges over the alleged theft of more than Sh226.9 million loss at the National Youth Service. They include Public Service PS Ms Omollo, former NYS director general Richard Ndubai and 26 other civil servants.

The companies that allegedly benefited from goods not supplied are Ngiwaco, Njewanga, Jerrycathy Enterprises and Annwaw, all belonging to the Ngirita family. Annwaw belongs to Ann Wambere Wanjiku who allegedly received Sh59.8 million. Waluko Investment belongs to Lucy Wambui, while Jeremiah Gichini Ngirita owned Jerrycathy Enterprises that allegedly received Sh72.2 million for goods not supplied.

One witness, former head of supplies chain management services at the Public Works Ministry Sebastian John Mokua, has so far testified.

The witness listed more than 36 companies that participated in various bids in 2011 and explained how the companies were awarded the contracts. Among the items that were procured were foodstuff, which includes beans and bread.

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