EACC raids homes of Kisumu Speaker Onyango Oloo over mall construction probe

Kisumu County Assembly Speaker Onyango Oloo at Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission Offices in Kisumu on June 3rd 2019. EACC had earlier raided his homes in Kisumu and arrested him over the construction of the sh. 4.2 billion Lake Basin Development Authority mall. [Collins Oduor/Standard]

Detectives from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) have raided the homes of Kisumu Speaker Onyango Oloo over his alleged involvement in the construction of the controversial Sh4.2 billion Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA) mall.

Oloo is among the several officers and former officers of the Authority whose homes were raided by detectives as investigations into an alleged fraud on the construction of the mall continue.

It was however not clear whether Oloo had been placed under arrest or not but detectives told The Standard that the raid was part of the investigations to establish whether public funds were misappropriated.

The raid began about 6: 30 am with detectives ransacking the Speaker’s houses in Milimani and Mamboleo before driving him to his office at the County Assembly.

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They collected a number of documents from the homes and also from his office before driving him to the Western Region EACC offices.

Following the raid, Oloo however, maintained his innocence and vowed to comply with the detectives in the actions they will take.

“As at now, I do not know whether I am under arrest or not but I am very innocent,” said Oloo.

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He noted that he was informed by his son that his Nairobi home had also been raided by detectives.

In the case in which the officials are being investigated, EACC estimates that up to Sh2 billion could have been lost due to inflated costs in the construction of the Lake Basin Mall.

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The initial cost of constructing the mall was capped at Sh2.5 billion but reports indicate that about Sh4.2 billion was spent to construct the mall.

The mall was built through a partnership between LBDA and Erdermann Properties, a Chinese developer, on a 20:80 basis.

The investigators also want to know why LBDA took a loan of Sh2.5 billion from Co-operative Bank. They want to establish why government land was used to secure a loan from the bank without the consent of the Attorney General, the Government’s chief legal adviser.

The title deed of the multi-billion-shilling mall land is in the hands of Erdermann Properties.

Oloo, however, yesterday dismissed claims that money had been misappropriated and claimed that there were variations which were made.

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“In the initial plan, the three-star hotel, the wall, the tyre centre as well as the showroom were not included. They were added in the project,” said Oloo.

He claimed that during the period he served as the chairman of LBDA, no payments were made.

“We had committed to about Sh3.8 billion. The figure that was increased was below 25 per cent and not 46 per cent,” he said.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji is expected to act on the file which might expose the underhand dealings of senior Lake Victoria Basin Development Authority (LBDA) managers, lawyers and politicians.

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