How Obado tried to escape police dragnet, held over mystery guns
By Cyrus Ombati and Augustine Oduor | November 15th 2018
Embattled Migori Governor Okoth Obado was yesterday arrested in the basement of a five-star hotel in Nairobi as he tried to leave in a taxi.
Mr Obado had left an event, also attended by Deputy President William Ruto at the Hilton hotel, midway and was taken into custody as he was being driven away.
Police said Obado had called a taxi and asked the management of the hotel to allow it to drive into the basement, where he boarded it, ready to leave. Obado was at the hotel to attend a function where Mr Ruto was meeting a group of international development partners.
The governor left before the function ended. Escorted by his bodyguards, he walked towards the VIP washrooms on the first floor.
He then went to the basement, taking many journalists, who had got wind of his impending arrest and were waiting, by surprise.
Minutes after Obado left the room where the function was going on, five plain-clothes officers with walkie-talkies came into the hotel and were directed to where he had gone. They followed him.
News of Obado’s impending arrest attracted many people, including journalists who were covering events in other boardrooms at the hotel. They went to camp near the door of the room of the DP’s function on the mezzanine floor.
An armed officer who realised the governor’s seat was empty followed him to the basement and stopped the taxi.
The officer asked the governor to step out. The two walked up a ramp to the ground floor to the entrance opposite International House.
The governor was then taken into a waiting police car and driven to the offices of the Special Crimes Prevention Unit (SCPU) off Ngong Road. He was later moved to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters along Kiambu Road.
At the SCPU, Obado called his lawyers, Cliff Ombeta and Roger Sagana. They arrived a few minutes later.
His daughter, Susan, also arrived and briefly talked to the governor before he was driven away.
The governor was informed that he was under arrest because a pistol found in his Migori home was believed to be illegal or unregistered.
Obado told police he was not present when the weapon was recovered, but the officers were said to have informed him that he would be processed for possible prosecution.
The detectives shifted their focus on some of the guns found in Obado’s homes during a raid on Tuesday by officers from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).
When the EACC detectives raided Obado’s homes in Nairobi and Migori counties in search of documents that could help them in their ongoing probe into claims of Sh2 billion graft at the county, they said they found guns that were deemed suspect and were the subject of investigations.
The pistols had more than 100 bullets. Five of the weapons were found in his house in Lavington, Nairobi, while three were seized from his Migori house.
Obado explained to the officers that some of the weapons belonged to him and his bodyguards.
Police claimed that Obado’s aides explained that one of the pistols was recovered from a criminal who had raided the home.
Obado was in Nairobi when the officers raided his houses.
According to police, Obado’s aides in Migori said one of the pistols belonged to an Administration Police officer seconded there as security and another one belonged to one of the governor’s aides, Caspal Obiero, who is in custody, charged in connection with the murder of Rongo University student Sharon Otieno.
Obiero is one of two of the governor’s aides who were charged alongside Obado.
Obiero is a licensed gun holder and had apparently taken the weapon to the home for safekeeping after he was arrested and charged alongside Michael Oyamo in September.
According to EACC detectives, the weapons were hidden under a mattress in Obado’s bedroom.
Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti said the weapons would undergo ballistic tests.
“We want to know if the weapons have been used in any crime. After ballistic tests, we will know more and the way forward,” said Mr Kinoti.
An aide to Obado declined to comment on the pistol in question.
“Let me not comment on that please,” he said.
Obado told officers he was a licensed gun holder and that some of the weapons found in his houses belonged to his guards.
He has at least three bodyguards. They were not present at the time of the EACC raid.
Officers present said the weapons were not in a safe, as required by law.
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