, NAIROBI, Kenya, June 20 – The suspects in the Sh468 million scandal at the National Youth Service (NYS) could face a minimum of ten years in prison or a one million shilling fine should they be found guilty.
This was revealed during a Pre Trial conference Wednesday morning where their defense lawyers protested that they are not prepared to proceed with the trial because they have not been supplied with witness statements by the prosecution.
They stated that due to the gravity of the accusations, they needed to be well prepared and they told the court that their clients have been in custody and have not been able to instruct them accordingly.
“Each one of them faces a count which has a penalty of 10 years or one million shillings fine or both. In reality if they are all found guilty, they are likely to face a total prison man-hours of 410 years. It is not a matter that the state should take for granted,” one of the lawyers stated.
Lawyer Asa Nyakundi who is representing some of the accused stated that their clients were making every effort to comply with the stringent bond terms set by the High Court yesterday.
“The position we take today is that we need more time given the fact that we have not had sufficient instructions and buttressed with the fact that none of the lawyers hear had signed statements, indeed a small percentage of the lawyers have signed statements,” he stated.
As a result of this, the pretrial conference has been pushed to July 17.
Anti corruption chief magistrate Douglas Ogoti has set the date after it emerged that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is yet to furnish the accused persons with original witness statements and evidence to be relied upon during trial.
The defense had protested the move by the prosecution to give them typed witness statements which do not have signatures and as a result, the DPP was directed to serve the suspects beginning Monday next week.
At the same time, the accused persons have been advised to make a formal application to challenge the decision by the Assets and Recovery Authority to freeze their bank accounts.
On the issue of bond variation following concerns that they are too stringent especially for the Ngirita’s , the court asked them to raise the issue with the trial court once hearing kicks off.
For those already processing their release on bail granted by the high court, magistrate Ogoti said an original ID, copy of the security valuation and passport are some of the minimum requirements.