, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 13 – 10 banks suspected to have handled monies in the National Youth Service scandal are being investigated for possible prosecution, according to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Noordin Haji has said his office is closely working with the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) to nab individuals in the banks who allowed huge amounts of money to be deposited and withdrawn without raising alarm.
“We have set up a team to look at how some of these monies were withdrawn and moved. The biggest problem is once the cash withdrawal is done then it becomes difficult to know how they are used. My conclusion is that there must be conspiracy between them and the public officials involved in corruption,” he said.
Haji who appeared before the Senate Justice and Legal affairs Committee Wednesday told members that the banks were complicit with the suspects saying that they had violated the CBK’s rules and regulations on deposit and withdrawals transactions.
He urged the members to consider introducing stiffer penalties on financial institutions found to have been used as a conduit for siphoning public funds.
So far, over 40 suspects are already in court facing criminal charges including suspended Youth Affairs Principal Secretary Lilian Omollo and NYS Director General Richard Ndubai over the alleged loss of Sh468 million at the Thika Road based vocational services.
While also briefing the lawmakers on the steps his office is taking to tackle the rampant corruption in the country, Haji said that his work is hampered by insufficient evidence by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.
This, he said, was a major gap that normally leads to no convictions being witnessed in high profile cases in the country.
He insisted that he cannot however bow to public pressure to instigate prosecutions against individuals mentioned in corruption-related cases unless he has solid evidence.
“My intention before I take any case is to ensure that I win and that means the availability of strong solid evidence that would lead to convictions,” he said.
Since taking office on April 16, the DPP said that EACC had forwarded 57 files to his office including those of top government officials but decried that they lacked sufficient evidence.
Reacting to last week’s admission by EACC revelations that four governors are under probe, the DPP said only one file had sufficient material for prompt prosecution while he had sent back three for further review.
“Piecing together of evidence of cases especially the high profile cases is a challenge. We cannot give the public hope of achieving convictions yet the ultimate result will be failure,” he said.
Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr challenged the DPP to explain why such cases like the Ruaraka land saga had not borne fruits yet the culprits are known.
“A report prepared by Parliament is already out and it has named the culprits involved in the scam yet we have not seen any action by your office, why?” he asked.
Kilonzo said the challenges attributed by the DPP were deliberate to ensure that corruption thrives in the country, while blaming the EACC for conducting shoddy investigations.
The DPP admitted that sometimes the EACC and the Office of the Director of Criminal Investigations sometimes do lack expertise to conduct through investigations on cases.
Siaya Senator James Orengo however cautioned the DPP not to instil hope in members of the public on pulling off prosecutions in high profile cases through acts such as raiding the suspects’ houses.
The DPP assured that he is keen to ensure all the suspects in the mega scandals in the country like NYS, the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB), Kenya Pipeline and the National Irrigation Board if found culpable will in one way or another pay for their crimes.