The hearing of the National Youth Service Scandal in which an estimated Sh10 billion was lost kicked off yesterday with the DPP saying it has sufficient evidence against suspects.
Former PS Lillian Omollo and 32 others are accused of manipulating the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS) to embezzle public funds.
Prosecution Counsel Vera Khamisi told the court that IFMIS was deliberately exploited and manipulated. She said some of the recipients of the lost money used it to corrupt the electoral process.
IFMIS is an automated system that enhances efficiency in planning, budgeting, procurement, expenditure management and reporting in the national and county governments in Kenya.
The accused persons in the case comprise of senior, middle and lower cadre government officials who played key roles in the commission of the offences.
They face charges of abuse of office, breach of trust, fraudulently making payments, uttering false documents, neglect of official duties, false accounting, and fraudulent acquisition of public property among others.
“The case is against amongst obscure but ruthless fly-by night briefcase companies which swooped away a massive Sh60 million being just a tip of the Sh8 billion which was siphoned from the National Youth Service coffers for goods not delivered with the assistance of the accused persons, who were public officers in the state department of public service and youth,” Vera said.
Vera said they will demonstrate that the acts of ommissions were not just negligent but well calculated schemes to siphon public funds. The proceeds of crime were then used by Omollo former Director General of the NYS and 31 others to obtain assets which include huge expensive vehicles, large tracks of land and houses.
The accused persons have since denied the accusations levelled against them claiming that the charges have been brought for ulterior motives and bad faith.
But the prosecution has maintained that no procurement was undertaken and neither goods nor services delivered. “The procurement in this case was allegedly undertaken under the repealed Act, PPD 2005 but the payments were made in under the new QAct, PPAD 2015 and we will demonstrate how public funds from the exchequer are allocated to the Ministry were siphoned to fictitious companies through NYS in the guise of procurement,” said Vera.
The prosecution will also demonstrate to show circulars used were forged, genuine contractors numbers were forged and illegally used to pay non-existent supplies. AGPO certificates were also illegally used and misused to facilitate the commission of these crimes.
In response, the defense led by Lawyer Stephen Ligunya and Migos Ogamba said the charges have been sensationalised and the prosecution is playing to the public gallery.
Ogamba told the Magistrate that documents relied on in support of the charges are selective to support a ‘narrative the state wants to sell to this court’.
“The companies mentioned supplied the goods by day and not at night. They are not briefcase companies but licensed to do business in the country,” he said.
Ogamba said the charges have been brought with purpose of sheltering the real culprits in the NYS fraud and during trial they will establish there is no iota of evidence connecting the accused to the loss of public funds.