NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 26 – Former Youth Enterprise Development Fund Chairman Bruce Odhiambo and Chief Executive Officer Catherine Namuye were on Friday charged with conspiring to steal Sh180 million from the Fund.
They were charged alongside the proprietors of Quorandum Limited, Mukuria Ngamau and his wife Doreen Waithera Nganga, to whom the monies were said to have been paid out to for ICT consultancy services.
They also answered to the related charges of forgery and false acquisition of public money, all of which they denied with Odhiambo facing an additional separate charge of corruptly acquiring Sh1.8 million.
The accused who were represented by lawyers Neville Amollo and Apollo Mboya were released on bonds of Sh5 million each with a surety of a similar amount with Senior Principal Magistrate Felix Kombo fixing a hearing date for November 17.
The Public Investments Committee of the National Assembly in May, after finding the Sh180 payment to Quorandum irregular, recommended that the accused persons be charged with fraud.
The special report submitted by PIC concluded that YEDF lost a total of Sh180.3 million through a well-orchestrated and dubious non-existent consultancy service scheme that was crafted and jointly executed by the trio.
The watchdog committee therefore recommended that the Director-General of the Public Procurement and Regulatory Authority to debar Quorandum Ltd and any company directly or indirectly associated with Ngamau from participating in any government’s public procurement proceedings, both at the National and County Government levels in accordance with Section 41 of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act 2015.
In the case of Odhiambo, the committee felt that he should be investigated and prosecuted on at least three counts as was eventually the case.
“Bruce Odhiambo, if found culpable by the relevant agencies and convicted by a court of law for the various civil and criminal offences should be barred from holding any public office pursuant to the provisions of Article 75(3) read together with Article 80(c) of the Constitution that stipulates that a person who is dismissed for compromising any public or official interest in favour of a personal interest shall be disqualified from holding any other public office,” the committee said in its recommendations.
Odhiambo resigned as the YEDF Chairman in March.