Bid to freeze official's assets dismissed

Suspended Nairobi County Finance Officer Jimmy Kiamba scored a major win yesterday after the High Court threw out a plea by the anti-graft body to extend a freeze on his assets worth Sh400 million.

High Court judge Msagha Mbogholi dismissed the application by Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to extend a freeze on the accounts and further lifted the freeze that was already in place.

Justice Mbogholi found that EACC cannot seek such orders as they are based on mere suspicion.

"I appreciate that investigations are an ongoing process but that should never be used to block a deserving party from accessing his property just because the investigations have not revealed the source. At most, the applicant (EACC) can only say the source is suspect. However, suspicion alone, however strong, is not evidence," the judge said.

Mbogholi noted that EACC got a court order and froze Kiamba's accounts in November, an order which they sought its extension in May this year.

But EACC lawyer David Ruto stated that the assets need to be preserved as they were acquired in a corrupt manner. "It is in the public interest that the assets be preserved until the matter is heard and determined. Wrongdoers should not enjoy what they have acquired corruptly," Ruto said.

Kiamba argued that the suit against him filed by EACC was malicious due to the insinuations that the property was acquired fraudulently.

Through his lawyer Philip Nyachoti, he stated they are yet to be served by EACC with the first order that was issued in November 11, last year.