Kenya

Obado, children spend night in cells

Obado, children spend night in cells

Summary

  • Sources at the EACC offices said 10 out of the 11 suspects who surrendered for questioning were arrested and moved to Nairobi under heavy police escort.
  • The EACC audit trail shows that the companies wired Sh38.9 million to three of the governor’s children.
  • The investigation shows that Sh34.5 million was used to buy a house in Loresho, Nairobi.

Migori Governor Okoth Obado and his four children accused of stealing millions from public coffers yesterday had a long day that ended in them sleeping on cold, hard floors of police cells.

The Obados spent the night at the basement cells of Integrity Centre, the nerve centre of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) in Nairobi, upon completing a 315-kilometre ride from Kisii to the capital.

Attempts by their lawyers to have them freed, citing closure of courts hit a brick wall as detectives insisted they remain in custody awaiting arraignment today.

Beset with pending criminal cases, including the alleged murder of his girlfriend Sharon Otieno, and possession of firearms illegally, Mr Obado is clearly a man under siege.

The day started by the county boss and his children — Susan Scarlet, Jerry Zachary, Evelyn Adhiambo and Dan Achola Okoth — surrendering to anti-corruption officers in Kisii to preclude their impending arrests.

Interrogated

They were interrogated for three hours and when they emerged they put on brave faces before they were bundled into waiting vans for their journey to the capital.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji on Tuesday ordered their arrest to face corruption and larceny charges after EACC untangled and exposed what it said was a web of corruption.

“All is okay,” Mr Obado told journalists who were locked out of the EACC compound where he was being questioned.

The alleged involvement of Mr Obado’s children in the suspected criminal syndicate of larceny represents what has been dogging a number of counties countrywide whereby some governors use close family members and cronies to siphon funds meant for development.

EACC has been investigating Mr Obado following reports that he stole public funds through companies registered by his relatives.

Received Sh73.4 million

According to the DPP, the governor indirectly received Sh73.4 million from companies that traded with the county government during his first term in office.

Sources at the EACC offices said 10 out of the 11 suspects who surrendered for questioning were arrested and moved to Nairobi under heavy police escort.

In his arrest order, Mr Haji said Obado’s four children separately received Sh34.5 million from companies directly associated with Mr Obado and three brothers — Jared Peter Kwaga, Patroba Ochanda and Joram Opala — who acted as proxies in some firms the county boss owned.

“Public money was lost through connivance of the governor and the business entities in payments made for performance of contracts,” Mr Haji said in a statement on Tuesday.

The companies are Misoft Ltd, Tarchdog Printers, Deltrack ICT Services, Seletrack Consultants, Mactebac Contractors, Joyush Business, Swyfcon Engineering, Atinus Services, Kajulu Business, Victorious Investments, Dolphus Softwares, Dankey Press and Pesulus Services.

The EACC audit trail shows that the companies wired Sh38.9 million to three of the governor’s children, which was used to pay their school fees, upkeep, maintenance and medical bills in Australia, Scotland and the United Kingdom.

“Some of the money was used to buy two Toyota Land Cruiser V8s,” said Mr Haji.

House in Loresho

The investigation shows that Sh34.5 million was used to buy a house in Loresho, Nairobi, whose beneficial owner is Evelyn Adhiambo Zachary.

In a separate case under investigation, Mr Obado is accused of using proxies, including his relatives, to siphon Sh2 billion from the county coffers, according to an affidavit filed in court by the anti-corruption watchdog.

In a period of three years, the newly registered companies had transacted Sh1,971,179,180 in deals exclusively from the county government, which was glaringly disproportionate to their known legitimate sources of income.

“The commission received credible information that a few persons well known to be proxies of the governor, registered several companies for the purpose of fraudulent acquisition of public funds through fictitious contracts,” the EACC said two years ago.

Firearms

In November 2018, EACC sleuths raided the office and homes of the governor and confiscated, among other things, eight firearms, several bank statements and electronics.

Five of the firearms were found in Nairobi, while three were confiscated in Migori.

The detectives pounced at dawn, and spent hours rummaging through documents that could help in their investigations.

The governor was later charged in court and released on bail after Kibera Chief Magistrate Joyce Gandani dismissed an application to detain him pending conclusion of a firearms possession investigation.

The Kibera court freed the governor on a Sh500,000 bond with surety of a similar amount or Sh200, 000 cash bail and ordered him not to interfere with investigations.

Additional reporting by Mary Wambui