, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 18 – Planning Principal Secretary Peter Mangiti and National Youth Service Director General Nelson Githinji on Wednesday denied the charge of tampering with a public officer by attempting to induce him not to “follow-up” on investigations into a conspiracy to steal Sh695 million.
And while agreeing to plead to the charge, they gave notice through their lawyer Kioko Kilukumi that they did so without prejudice to an application they intend to make challenging the validity of the charge.
Kilukumi told Chief Magistrate Daniel Ogembo that the offence with which they’ve been charged “is a created offence and is therefore not valid.”
The two hope to have it quashed on the premise that the offence outlined in Section 107(a) of the Penal Code, which they’ve been accused of contravening, labels the offence as inducement and not tampering and relates to the military.
The offence, they contend, being the inducement of a member of the disciplined forces to abandon his duties.
Githinji and Mangiti were charged alongside 23 other NYS employees who also pleaded not guilty to various charges that include the theft of Sh791 million, a conspiracy to steal, engaging in an organised criminal activity, falsifying Local Purchase Orders, abuse of office and breach of trust.
The 23 are: Benson Muchemi, Regina Mungai, Fredrick Nasiche, Josephine Irungu, Peter Otuoma, Hendrick Pilisi, Samuel Wahenje, Jane Gichuki, David Alunga, Titus Libondo, Chemos Ndiema, Naftali Githinji, Ruth Hihu, Charles Nyaachi, Maary Mbuthia, Ezekiel Kamau, James Kanuthu, Samwel Kilonzi, Philip Otinga, Jennifer Mugure, Rhoda Makau, Joel Karenju, Francis Kairuki and Caroline Kinuthia.
“Between December 1, 2014 and June 5, 2015 at NYS headquarters, being persons employed (as) Supply Chain Management Assistant, Senior Supply Chain Management Officer, Principal Supply Chain Management, Director of Finance, Procurement Officer, Senior Deputy Director Finance in charge of general repair and maintenance, Quarter Master, Principal Accountant, Chief Accountant, Accountant ii, Accountant, Accountant, Internal Auditor, Accountant ii, Storekeeper, Accountant, Senior Accountant, Senior Assistant Accountant General, and Chief Accountant respectively arbitrarily facilitated fraudulent payments amounting to Sh791,385,000,” the charge sheet details.
Twelve of the accused were however not present in court and Ogembo set a mention for November 24 when they are expected to plead to the charges levelled against them.
Those who pleaded to the charges, Githinji and Mangiti included, were to be released on payment of a Sh3 million cash bail with an alternative Sh20 million bond and surety of the same amount.