Two key figures in the Sh791 million National Youth Service (NYS) scandal will finally have their day in court by Wednesday.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keriako Tobiko has ordered the prosecution of former NYS Senior Deputy Director General Adan Harakhe and former chairman of the Ministerial Tender Committee Hassan Noor Hassan in connection with procurement irregularities in the award of a tender for the supply and delivery of training materials worth Sh47.6 million.
In his letter to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), Mr Tobiko says there is sufficient evidence to charge Mr Harakhe with abuse of office for issuing a local purchase order and authorising a payment voucher to a company, Blue Star Enterprises.
Mr Harakhe will be charged alongside former Devolution Principal Secretary Peter Mangiti, the latter for allegedly executing the contract and for appointing the evaluation committee on the same day he issued the notification for the award.
Mr Harakhe was previously listed as a prosecution witness in cases relating to the scandal after initial investigations portrayed him as a whistler-blower and not a suspect.
But in his letter to the EACC dated November 4, 2016, the DPP directs that Mr Harakhe, among others who had previously recorded statements as witnesses, should now record new statements as suspects.
“All the suspects directed to be charged who had recorded statements as witnesses should record statements as suspects,” he directs.
Among the top officials at the Devolution ministry and NYS, only Mr Harakhe, Mr Hassan and former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru are yet to be charged with any offence related to the scandal.
If anything, Mr Mangiti, former NYS Director General Nelson Githinji and a key suspect in the scandal, Ben Gethi, are facing charges of threatening Mr Harakhe with dire consequences if he continued following up on the scandal.
They have all denied the charges and are out on bond.
As recently as two weeks ago, Ms Waiguru was absolving Mr Harakhe from wrongdoing in the loss of the NYS money, instead placing the blame on Mr Githinji.
In a day-long session with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Ms Waiguru said money was stolen from NYS when Mr Githinji was the Authority to Incur Expenditure (AIE) holder.
“Nelson Githinji claimed that he was not in control at NYS. Dr Githinji was the Director General and AIE holder when the Sh791 million was stolen,” she maintained.
“By the time Harakhe was made the AIE holder, Sh791 million had already been transferred, the media has created the impression that Harakhe was brought to NYS to facilitate the theft,” she said.
Ms Waiguru accused Mr Githinji of continuing to authorise payments at NYS even after the authority to do so had been transferred to Mr Harakhe.
Ms Waiguru was, however, unable to explain why some of the payments were made after Mr Harakhe had replaced Mr Githinji as the AIE holder, prompting PAC chairman and Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo to declare the table of payments the former CS had presented to the committee inadmissible.
In his letter to EACC, Mr Tobiko says that there is no sufficient evidence to charge Mr Githinji for the offence.
Mr Hassan will on his part be charged alongside eight members of the Ministerial Tender Committee for authorising the use of restricted tendering above the stipulated threshold.
They include John Munywoki, Ruth Kiiru, Hezbourne Mackobongo, Michael Ojiambo, James Kirigwi, Salim Ali Molla, Samuel Wachenje and Samwel Odhiambo.
“I find that the Ministerial Tender Committee failed to adhere to Regulation 10 (2) (a) of the Public Procurement and Disposal Regulations, 2006, by failing to ascertain that the procurement had been undertaken in accordance with the Act. Additionally, the Ministerial Tender Committee approved restrictive tendering whereas the threshold for such a method had not been satisfied,” the DPP notes.
The DPP also recommends the prosecution of Mr Hassan and seven other members of the Ministerial Tender Committee that sat on January 30, last year and awarded the tender to Blue Star Enterprises without a technical evaluation being undertaken.
They include Mr Munywoki, Ms Kiiru, Mr Molla, Mr Odhiambo, one Fresia Kamau, Moses Ogola and Kennedy Nyamao.
Five members of the Technical Evaluation Committee namely Dr S Mutunga, P Muritu, F Karanja, Timothy Ndekere and Regina Mungai are also to be charged for failing to undertake a technical evaluation.
Selesio Karanja will be charged with inserting the name of a bidder, Dama Services Ltd in the Tender Opening Register. Betty Njoki Mureithi and Jennifer Muthoni Kinoti will also be charged with fraudulent acquisition of public property.