Government accountant ordered to forfeit Sh200 million assets for being proceeds of crime

Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi. [Angela Maina, Standard]

A former accountant at the Ministry of Finance has lost property worth more than Sh200 million he acquired using public funds stolen during the Anglo-Leasing scandal.

Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi ordered Patrick Abachi to forfeit the property to the State for being proceeds of crime. She ruled that the civil servant, with a monthly salary of Sh53,900 could not prove how he acquired such massive wealth within a period of five years between 2002 and 2007.

“He was suspected to have been involved in corruption that revolved around the Anglo Leasing scandal and was not able to show a legitimate source for the funds he used to acquire the said assets. The unexplained assets are proceeds of crime and shall be forfeited to the Government,” ruled Ngugi.

Abachi becomes the first individual to be found culpable for the loss of billions of shillings in the controversial Anglo-Leasing contract for modernisation of police and security operations in 2003.

Justice Ngugi ruled that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) had proved beyond doubt that Abachi’s assets were not commensurate with his known legitimate sources of income and that he failed to produce any evidence in court to show he genuinely acquired his properties.

The judge ruled that as a public officer, Abachi was required to declare his wealth after every two years but he disguised his assets by registering them in the names of his wife, nephew, uncle and other close relatives.

She ruled that Abachi had declared his wealth in 2003 to be worth Sh1 million and Sh1.7 million in 2007 but the investigations by EACC proved that he had other assets registered in the names of his relatives and companies where he was a signatory and director.

“His wealth when compared to his legitimate income within the five-year period show a huge discrepancy which makes me believe they constitute unexplained assets and thus proceeds of crime. Everything he has raises questions on how they were acquired,” ruled Ngugi.

The property the judge ordered Abachi, his wife Rosaline Wanjira, brother Benjamin Makokha and his two relatives Moses Oduori and Lorian Juma to forfeit to the State are spread across Nairobi, Mombasa, Kajiado and Machakos Counties.

They include six pieces of land in Ngong and Kitengela in Kajiado County, two in Mavoko within Machakos County, two apartments in Parkview Estate and a town house at Mugoya Estate in Nairobi and a prime plot in Mombasa town.

Others are four high-end motor vehicles, savings at Barclays Bank, Co-operative Bank, Housing Finance and Sh1.9 million hard cash recovered in his house.

At the time of filing the suit in 2008, the EACC estimated that the value of the assets were Sh65 million which has appreciated in the last 12 years and are now valued at more than Sh200 million.

EACC had claimed that it was the period during the Anglo-Leasing scandal that Abachi deposited millions of shillings in his accounts and that the assets were not proportionate to his known legitimate sources of income being his salary and allowances as a public officer.

The commission stated that they gave Abachi who is currently a chief accountant at the Ministry of Agriculture to explain sources of his wealth but he could not offer satisfactory answers which made them believe he was engaged in corruption.

As way to conceal his corrupt practices, EACC told the court that the accountant would purchase the properties and register them in the names of his relatives.

According to the commission, they raided Abachi’s home in Mugoya Estate and found Sh1.9 million in cash  hidden in the house which they believed were also proceeds of corruption.

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