Trader in Sh2b scam probe gets bank accounts back

A court has lifted orders freezing accounts of a businessman accused of being part of a ring that allegedly siphoned Sh2 billion from Migori County coffers.

The High Court had frozen the bank accounts of Mr Ernest Owino and his three companies following an application by the anti-corruption commission.

Lady Justice Hedwig Ong’udi said it would be unfair to continue restraining Owino from operating his businesses.

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“In all fairness, I have not found any good reason that would make this court to continue freezing his accounts. I therefore discharge the orders earlier issued to preserve the money,” ruled Ong’udi.

She said the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission had over one year to carry out investigations, when the accounts were first frozen in November 2017, and cannot claim to still be probing the matter.

Mr Owino and his three companies - Janto Construction Company Ltd, Marowa Stores Ltd and Mbingo Enterprises Ltd - told the court that they needed the money to do business.

Supplying air

Owino is said to be one of Governor Okoth Obado's proxies paid millions for supplying air.

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The others are six family members Jared Oluoch Kwaga, his wife Christine Akinyi Ochola, his brothers Joram Opala Otieno and Patroba Ochanda Otieno, his mother Penina Auma Otago and sister-in-law Carolyne Anyango Ochola, and another relative called Robert Odoyo Okeyo.

In the latest application, EACC says Obado’s administration paid out Sh2 billion to  non-existent companies for ghost services.

In one of the instance, EACC claims the county government paid over Sh800 million to seven non-existent companies.

The companies are said to have been registered and became operational almost two years after the money had been credited in their bank accounts.

It was from such fictitious deals that Obado allegedly received Sh39 million that was wired to his children who are studying in Australia and Scotland.

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The case resumes on November 22.

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