Ngamau gets 27 years in jail for youth fund scam

Friday, October 1st, 2021 00:00 |
Businessman Mukuria Ngamau leaves Milimani Law Courts under police escort after he was convicted for the loss of Sh180 million at the Youth Enterprise Fund seven years ago. Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti, sentenced him to 27 years in prison, or pay a fine of Sh720.8 million to secure his freedom. Photo/PD/Charles Mathai

Businessman Mukuria Ngamau was yesterday handed a 27-year-jail term or an alternative fine of Sh720.8 million for defrauding Youth Enterprise Development Fund millions of shillings seven years ago.

Ngamau, a Director of Quorandum Limited was sentenced by Milimani Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti who found him guilty of five counts of stealing Sh180 million from the fund for services not rendered.

The Magistrate also ordered the trading firm to compensate the State agency Sh180 million, being the amount that was lost. 

“l also invoked section 51 and 54 of Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act (ACECA) and ordered the firm to pay the Fund Sh180,364,789 in compensation,” ordered Ogoti

The businessman was found guilty of five counts namely conspiracy to commit an economic crime, unlawful acquisition of public property and making false documents. 

He committed the offences on diverse dates between November 17, 2014 and May 4, 2015 within Nairobi county. 

“ln sentencing, I’m taking into account the several sections including section 48(2)(b) of Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act  (ACECA).

Which provides that if the conduct that constituted the offence resulted in both a benefit and loss described in section 48(1)(b), the mandatory fine is equal to the two times the amount of the benefit and the amount of the loss.

The court will also consider that the offences involved a corrupt man that took place over a period of time contrary to the law,” Ogoti said.

Ogoti sentenced Ngamau to seven years in jail without the option of a fine for the offence of conspiracy to commit an economic crime contrary to the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act No. 3 of 2003.

The Sh720.8 million fine comprises a mandatory fine of Sh442,840,000 for unlawful acquisition of public property contrary to the law.

Ngamau and Quorandum Limited have also been slapped with a mandatory fine of Sh258 million for unlawful acquisition of public property.

He was also jailed for three years after being convicted on two counts for making false documents contrary to the Penal Code.

In his long judgement, the magistrate stated that the evidence showed that Ngamau and his trading company received the money without rendering any services after forging contract documents for provision of ICT consultancy services.

The businessman colluded with the former CEO of the Fund Catherine Namuye (now deceased) and transferred the money to Quorandum Ltd through the Fund’s main account held at Chase Bank. 

Illegal transactions

The magistrate noted that the prosecution through 31 witnesses proved how the illegal transactions took place premised on letters authored by Namuye, invoices and contract agreements. 

The magistrate observed that Ngamau shared the idea of the ICT consultancy tender to the CEO where they later discussed on how to implement it. 

 Quorandam Limited was to provide consultancy services for an ICT strategy design within a period of seven days at a cost of Sh 65.9 million.

In the second contract, Ngamau’s firm was to render consultancy services on specifications of the software to be used in managing operations of the agency at a cost of Sh114.9 million.

Namuye is said to have changed the signatories to the fund’s bank account by making herself as a sole signatory and transferred the monies to Ngamau’s firm account.

Ogoti while convicting the businessman noted that procurement rules and procedures, as stipulated in Public Procurement and Disposal Act, were not adhered to. 

Ngamau had been charged together with the Fund’s former officials Nambuye and Bruce Odhiambo who passed on during the pendency of the trial. 

His wife Doreen Waithira was however dropped from the case while the charges against Namuye and Odhiambo were also dropped following their demise.

While passing sentence, the court noted that the business received a benefit while the fund suffered loss. Ogoti dismissed the businessman’s mitigation for a non-custodial sentence.

The 48-year-old trader sought a lenient sentence saying he had just recovered from Covid-19 and was a father and his family’s breadwinner.

But the prosecution through Eva Kanyuira vehemently opposed the prayer for a non-custodial sentence saying the offences committed were serious.

“We ask the court to consider the offence committed by the accused person as an amount that involved huge public funds of Sh180 million which was given to the accused persons without them having performed or rendered any services,” said Kanyuira.

She argued that offences were committed in disregard of law and procedures

“We would urge this court to sentence the accused person and have the accused person pay the monies that were lost and monies he benefited from,” the State counsel submitted.  

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