Already, the anti-corruption watchdog is pursuing senior officers and politicians, including two top NASA leaders, in the quest to repossess assets worth more than Sh10 billion acquired using taxpayers’ money.
“The amount involved on cases of asset recovery instituted by EACC and are pending in court is Sh10 billion. Asset recovery is crucial because corruption is motivated by the desire to make money and therefore the commission is being deliberate in dealing with the motivation in an effort to fight corruption successfully,” commission’s Deputy CEO Michael Mubea said.
In some of the documents seen by the Sunday Standard, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission is also seeking to recover money paid to some of the officers, including members of the clergy, as allowances and land acquired illegally in major towns such as Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru and Eldoret. The EACC has already obtained orders freezing the sale or transfer of some of the properties spread across the country. The property owners are not allowed to transact any business with them or withdraw money stashed in accounts suspected to have been used in perpetuating corruption.
Among the 399 cases in court is one involving NASA leader Raila Odinga’s brother Dr Oburu Oginga. Oburu and former Commissioner of Lands and Baringo Central MP Sammy Mwaita failed to convince the court to throw out an application by the EACC, which seeks to recover property worth Sh30 million. In the case, which comes up on October 28 at the High Court in Kisumu, they are accused of colluding to defraud Kenya Railways of a half-acre piece of land.
Pending in court
Records at the EACC show a case in which the commission is seeking to repossess a Sh20 million house owned by NASA co-principal Musalia Mudavadi in Nairobi’s Woodley Estate is still pending in court.
Mudavadi had obtained orders stopping the hearing, pending hearing and determination of another case filed by the EACC in 2007 against Paul Moses Ngetha.
And in a case against Kisii Senator Sam Ongeri to be heard next month, the commission is seeking to recover Sh50 million land. The EACC claims the property, which was vested in the defunct Kisii Municipal Council and reserved for a market, was fraudulently surveyed and subdivided into seven portions.
Former Alego Usonga MP Oloo Aringo is also before the High Court in Kisumu to save his Sh30 million property said to have been illegally acquired.
Also in the cross hairs are six former Makueni MCAs over Sh1.4 million they claimed as per diem for a trip to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), despite being fully funded by an MP.
And among the men of cloth is retired ACK Bishop Peter Njoka, who is expected back in court after he lost his appeal. The agency filed the case in 2005 to claim restitution of Sh1.7 million paid to the bishop by the then City Council of Nairobi for prayer services that he offered. In Nairobi where there are 158 cases, the commission has filed simultaneous suits in the last two months against officers unable to explain how they accrued their wealth.
“The bulk of the asset recovery matters by EACC fall within the Environment and Land Division Court, which as of now has a huge backlog that has contributed to the low pace of disposal. We are doing everything possible in collaboration with the Judiciary to fast track the matters,” Mr Mubea says.
Other ongoing cases include one against Interior Ministry’s Senior Assistant Accountant General Thomas Gitau Njogu said to have been unable to account for Sh111 million he made between January 2016 and August 2017 and former Kenya Revenue Authority staff Joseph Gikonyo’s Sh615 million wealth. Ex-Nairobi County official Stephen Osiro and his wife Carolyne Obwa’s Sh318 million assets and the county’s former Finance Chief Officer, Jimmy Kiamba, and his three other colleagues’ Sh872 million wealth, is also being targeted. Kiamba’s case is set for hearing on October 4.