Former Youth Enterprise Development Fund Chairman Bruce Odhiambo and Chief Executive Officer Catherine Namuye who are on trial for conspiring to steal Sh180 million from the public kitty have lodged fresh protest over documents, a tactic the prosecution says is designed to delay justice.
They were in court where their lawyers alleged that certain documents that may boost their defence had not been supplied to them.
The documents hitch, however, according to the prosecution has been resolved as those to be relied on have already been supplied but the ones the defence wants cannot be traced.
A lawyer for the Fund and prosecutor Nicholas Mutuko told court that an affidavit attesting to the misplaced documentation has been filed in court and wondered how they can supply documents that they do not have in their possession.
“We want this matter of documents out to rest… we can only provide documents which we have in our custody,” the prosecutor said.
The court heard that the contentious documents are e-mails that cannot be retrieved following the “crushing of a server” and that an ICT expert has filed a report on the same.
Mutuku said other soft but bulky copies of the e4-mails were available for the defence to pick at the office.
“Youth Funds has supplied the documents in its custody, and cannot file documents it does not have,”the prosecutor reiterated.
The defence has applied that the scheduled dates for hearing June 13 and 14 be vacated to enable them cross examine the Fund’s CEO John Moriasi and the ICT manager Joseph Alumasa on the alleged missing documents.
Defence lawyers said they were not satisfied with the explanation given and sought the cross examination to verify the allegations pertaining to the documents.
Request not satisfied
They said that their request for the documents has not been satisfied and that in the interest of justice the scheduled hearing dates be vacated.
The court heard that “the documents that have not been supplied are more important to the defence that the ones that have been supplied.”
Odhiambo and Namuye are charged alongside the proprietors of Quorandum Limited, Mukuria Ngamau and his wife Doreen Waithera Nganga, to whom the suspected fraudulent payment was made for ICT consultancy services.
They also face related charges of forgery and false acquisition of public money, all of which they deny.
Odhiambo is facing an additional separate charge of corruptly acquiring Sh1.8 million.
They say failure to get the documents may mount a challenge in defending themselves and a chance to have a fair trial.
The trial court makes a ruling on the objection on the hearing on June 13 2017.
The accused who were represented by lawyers Neville Amollo among others.
They are each out on bonds of KSh5 million with a sureties of similar amounts.
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.
A 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 suspects.
“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 report reads.
Odhiambo resigned as the YEDF Chairman ate height of the scam.