A new magistrate appointed to try the Sh468 million National Youth Service (NYS) case will begin receiving evidence from January 7, 2019 in the case against former Principal Secretary Lilian Omollo and 43 individuals.
Principal Magistrate Peter Ooko was appointed to preside over three cases which have since been merged by state prosecutor Gitonga Riungu.
He told Mr Ooko that he will draw a common charge sheet on the three files out of the 10 which had been filed against all the 44 suspects who were arraigned in court two months ago.
The cases will be divided into three lots and tried by different magistrates for expeditious disposal as per Chief Justice David Maraga's directive.
“I will supply all the witness statements and exhibits which I will rely on to all the suspects here-in to prepare their defences in good time,” said Mr Riungu, who is being assisted by four other state prosecutors.
The prosecutor said there are at least three suspects who have not pleaded, but their fate will be resolved soon.
The defence team, led by Mr Migos Ogamba, said it will ensure the case proceeds without stalling for the whole of January.
All the lawyers agreed that they will “hold brief for each other to ensure a smooth trial".
Mr Ooko heard that three of the seven suspects who had not managed to secure bonds will be released as they have secured lower bail terms from the High Court.
“Are you sure they will be out before the close of the day today (yesterday)?” Mr Ooko asked the defence lawyer.
“I hope so. I'm sure they will have deposited the reduced cash bail of Sh250,000,” the magistrate was told.
Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti had said: “These cases will be adjourned when the issue is a matter of life and death.”