Suspect faults EACC in graft case

EACC however maintains that Ogunde’s company participated in irregularities that led to loss of public funds. [Courtesy]
A businessman suspected to be involved in a corruption scandal at a State agency wants detectives barred from searching his house.

Oscar Odhiambo Ogunde, the proprietor of Symbion Kenya Limited, is alleged to be part of individuals who participated in fraudulent deals at the Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA) during the construction of the agency’s mall in Kisumu.

Mr Ogunde has accused Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) investigators of illegally raiding his house in Kileleshwa, and Symbion’s offices in Karen, to collect evidence.

Ogunde, in an application filed at the High Court, has argued that EACC obtained an illegal order from a magistrate’s court allowing its detectives to cart away materials from his premises.

He claims that EACC did not summon him to explain his involvement in the LBDA scam before raiding his house and offices.

“The evidence they placed before the magistrate was not sufficient to allow them to ransack my premises and seize my documents, without acknowledging that not all materials they took is related to the LBDA probe,” said Ogunde.

Ogunde is said to be among those who misappropriated part of Sh3.8 billion the Government pumped into the mega-mall situated along the Kisumu-Kakamega highway.

EACC investigator Charles Kiptanui, in his replying affidavit to Ogunde’s suit, has defended the move to conduct a search at the businessman’s premises.

Mr Kiptanui said Ogunde’s company, being the lead consultant in the construction, participated in irregularities that led to loss of public funds.

Kiptanui explained that EACC summoned Ogunde on June 7 to record a statement, but he refused to honour the summons leaving the detectives with no alternative but to storm his premises.

“Our intelligence indicated that some key persons involved in the project received financial and other inducements to facilitate procurement irregularities in favour of the main contractor, Ederman Property Ltd, and we were justified to search the applicant’s premises to obtain evidence,” said Kiptanui.

“Some of the facts that raised suspicion are the lead consultant (Ogunde) varied the contract sum by 57 per cent from the initial amount of Sh2.4 billion to Sh3.8 billion, which was above the 25 per cent limit allowed by procurement laws.”

But Ogunde’s lawyer, Dingi Bongo, countered EACC’s assertions saying the commission should have charged his client instead of harassing him by raiding his house.

Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi scheduled the hearing to be on August 19.

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Paul Ogemba]Oscar Odhiambo OgundeSymbion Kenya LimitedLBDAEACC