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State drops Sh1.9bn case against Obado after striking Sh235m deal

 Former Migori Governor Okoth Obado at a Milimani Law Courts on December 4, 2023. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

The government has dropped a Sh1.9 billion asset forfeiture case against former Migori Governor Okoth Obado, his companies, four children and a businessman.

The details are contained in a consent filed before Justice Esther Maina yesterday, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) said.

EACC said they had settled the matter out of court with Sh235 million and that it does not want to pursue the two cases of Sh 1.9 billion and Sh73 million involving unexplained wealth and proceeds of crime against Obado, his four children, businessman Jared Peter Oluoch Kwaga and his firms.

The commission also urged the court to adopt the out-of-court settlement agreement.

It also wants the lifting of freezing orders of the assets including a house in Loresho and two high-end motor vehicles valued at Sh15.9 million which Obado and his children allegedly corruptly acquired.

"I have instruction from the commission (EACC) that the parties herein have entered into a settlement agreement date on June 5, 2024. We urge the court to admit the settlement consent as the order of the court," EACC lawyer Jackie Kibogy said.

Shocked by the new development in the matter, Judge Maina sought to know from the EACC lawyer whether it was justifiable and in the public interest to settle the Sh1.9 billion recovery financial impropriety claim with only Sh235 million.

Kibogy told the judge that the commission agreed to drop the case after the parties agreed to Sh235 million and the same was fair since Obado and his co -suspects agreed to surrender two Toyota Land Cruiser V8  and eight prime properties including the Loresho property.

"The settlement agreement, in this case, is justified as all assets related to this case have been confiscated according to the agreement. The defendants have offered to surrender and the commission has accepted to receive eight properties and two motor vehicles all worth at Sh235,600,000 to be disposed of by way of public auction in full and final settlement of the two claims," she stated.

Among the properties surrendered include Loresho house worth Sh40 million, a commercial property known as Sunrise Centre, and five-story residential blocks each with a total of 20 two-bedroom units both in Suna East worth Sh80 million and Sh57.6 million respectively.

Further, EACC said that the suspects have surrendered three other apartments in Greenspan each valued at Sh18 million and 14.5 million. Other properties seized include residential property at Kamagambo worth Sh10 million and another two single-resident prime properties in Suna East with eight one-bedroom units valued at Sh7.5 million.

The lawyer added that the Sh73 million recovery suit against Obado and his children related to proceeds of crime following allegations of bribery and kickbacks received from Migori County government and was part of the Sh1.9 Million filed over unexplained wealth.

"Therefore the assets relating to this matter of  Sh73 million are properties acquired in the Sh1.9 billion case and we seek both matters to be withdrawn," Kibogi stated.

The judge also vacated the freezing order of the accounts and all assets four years ago preserving the billion of shillings assets belonging to Obado, his children several contractors.

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