Former Youth Principal Secretary Lilian Omollo suffered a blow after her plea to be discharged over the loss of millions at National Youth Service (NYS) was dismissed. The PS had applied a plea on grounds that courts have no authority to handle the cases after the lapse of more than two years.
In his submission, the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji through senior principal prosecution counsel Kanana Kimiri said they were not to be blamed for the long delay.
Senior principal magistrate Eunice Nyutu rejected the application that the court’s jurisdiction has lapsed after the expiry of two years. A second application, raising similar issues was dismissed by Lucas Onyina.
Ms Omollo was charged on May 29, 2018, together with other senior government officials including former NYS Director-General Richard Ndubai and suppliers. They denied various counts including misuse of office, conspiracy to commit felony and money laundering.
Section 62(1) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act states that a public officer or state officer who is charged with corruption or economic crime shall be suspended at half pay with effect from the date of the charge until the conclusion of the case. The law further says the case shall be determined within 24 months.
The former PS had also argued that they acted in good faith while discharging their mandate but the court said the accused persons do not enjoy immunity from acts that amount to a crime and the claim that they acted in good faith can only be raised in defense hearing.
The court further said the issues in question are criminal in nature and thus cannot be determined by EACC because the matters do not concern ethics of public officers.
The court ruling gives hope to the fight against corruption by deterring corrupt perpetrators. The judiciary continues to support the anti-graft war through fast tracking corruption cases and giving punitive measures making corruption an expensive venture.