Detectives probing the loss of Sh8 billion from the second National Youth Service (NYS) scandal have unearthed two lost vouchers used to pay millions of shillings to a little-known family.
The vouchers, which went missing during investigations, are among documents that prosecutors now want to attach as evidence in the trial of 35 individuals, as they seek to prove that Catherine Wanjiku Mwai, Lucy, Anne, Phyllis and Jeremiah Ngirita received Sh918 million though they had not supplied anything to NYS.
Ms Lucy Ngirita is the mother of Anne, Phyllis and Jeremiah. Ms Mwai is Jeremiah’s wife.
Prosecutors also want to attach bank statements for an account operated by Ms Phyllis Ngirita detailing transactions between August 13, 2016 and April 20, 2018, specimen signatures and two statements from KCB officials in Gilgil and Naivasha.
The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions filed an application at the Chief Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, stating that the documents are crucial in its push for a conviction of the 35 individuals.
In the trial that the DPP’s office wants to file the documents, the Ngiritas have been charged with the theft of Sh226.9 million, alongside ex-Public Service and Youth Principal Secretary Lillian Omollo, former NYS director-general Richard Ndubai and 28 other senior and junior former NYS employees.
Prosecutors believe that senior and junior employees colluded to forge entries showing that Ngirita-owned firms had supplied goods. The payment would then be approved by senior NYS officials and finally by Ms Omollo.
Mr Kenneth Kemei, an investigator at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, says in an affidavit supporting the application that the two payment vouchers were misplaced during a document examination process.
He adds that the bank statements detailing payments to Ms Phyllis Ngirita were left out as an oversight.
The specimen signatures, Mr Kemei holds, were taken through forensic examination while investigators were still probing the alleged payment of Sh918 million to the family.
Prosecutors had last week started making the application orally but the defence lawyers protested, arguing that Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti had already adjourned the hearing to November 12.
“At the time of disclosure, two payment vouchers — numbers 1340 and 1341 — that formed part of the documentary evidence for the prosecution, had been misplaced at DCI headquarters when they were forwarded to the document examiner for forensic examination. The accused persons were informed of that fact by the inventory signed on August 13, 2018,” Mr Kemei says.
The investigator holds that an inventory of documents signed by the suspects clearly indicated that two payment vouchers were missing.
“I have since realised that on October 30, 2018, when this honourable court granted leave to the prosecution to complete disclosure, a bank statement for Ms Phyllis Njeri Ngirita for an account held at KCB Naivasha for the period August 13, 2016 to April 20, 2018 was not disclosed to the defence.
"The non-disclosure was an oversight since bank statements for the period October 17, 2008 to August 12, 2016 had been disclosed to the accused persons but it is not relevant to this case,” he adds.
Prosecutors argue that the Ngiritas received payments that were meant for genuine suppliers, indicating that the NYS could still be forced to fork out billions to settle dues owed to companies that actually distributed goods.