How Okoth Obado county government awarded Sh2.7b tender to family members

Migori Governor Okoth Obado (R) and daughter Scarlet Susan Okoth follows proceedings at a Milimani court on Monday, February 28, 2022.[Collins Kweyu, Standard]

An investigator with the anti-graft agency has tabled evidence of how the County Government of Migori paid Sh2.7 billion to some companies in a suspected corruption syndicate.

Robert Cheruiyot Rono told the court that most of the 22 companies awarded the contracts are owned by six family members charged alongside Migori Governor Okoth  Obado with conspiracy to defraud Sh505 million from the county coffers.

Rono, a forensic investigator with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission was the first witness in the case where Obado and his four children Dan Achola, Scarlet Susan, Jerry Zachary and Evelyne Odhiambo are charged with conspiracy to defraud the County government. 

“We analysed all contracts and payment schedules and discovered that majority of the companies are owned by the family members. We will provide documentation to show how each of the accused is related to the companies,” said Rono.

Some  Obados are charged alongside businessman Jared Oluoch Kwaga, his wife Christine Akinyi Ochola, mother Penina Auma, brothers Joram Opala Otieno and Patroba Ochanda Otieno, and sister-in-law Carolyne Anyango Ochola.

Also named in the charge sheet are their companies, Misoft Limited, Tarchdog Printers Limited, Kajulu Business Limited, Victorious Investments Limited and Deltrack ICT Services Limited.

According to Rono, EACC received intelligence in August 2017 about an alleged embezzlement of public funds from Migori County which was being perpetrated by businessmen said to be the governor's proxies.

Given the huge financial amounts involved, Rono told trial magistrate Lawrence Mugambi that they formed a team that analysed the evidence and came up with a schedule of what to investigate. 

He said the team sought to find out how the contracts were awarded to the same companies owned by the same people and how they utilised the funds after being paid by the county. 

From their analysis, Rono said they discovered payment schedules to the various companies owned by the family members who were paid millions of shillings, some of which the prosecution claims was paid back to Obado as kickbacks through his children.

Rono had told the court that the companies were registered shortly after Obado was elected the governor in 2013. They were awarded the multi-million shilling tenders by the county government.

He presented to the court an analysis of the IFMIS payment system which showed how the 23 companies were paid the Sh2.7 billion within four years of Obado’s first term in office. His evidence showed that Mbingo enterprises received the largest amount at Sh356 million.

The EACC investigator continues with his testimony.