By Paul Ogemba |
August 23rd 2019 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300
A former Nyandarua County Finance officer accused of looting millions of shillings is seeking to stop the anti-graft agency from summoning him to explain sources of his massive wealth.
Michael Kamau Kuria, through a petition filed at the High Court, claimed the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) illegally summoned him to explain how he acquired property and cash in his accounts totalling Sh343 million without following the right procedure.
According to Kuria, EACC unprocedurally obtained details of his bank accounts over suspicion he was engaged in corruption, money laundering and economic crimes without first giving him a chance to defend his sources of wealth.
“I am alarmed the commission raided my bank accounts without any prior notice, which amounts to infringement of my right to privacy. I am afraid of going to their offices as that will sanitise their illegal ways of obtaining evidence,” swore Kuria.
EACC is investigating the former chief finance officer over allegations of embezzling public funds and accumulating massive properties within a span of four years, and which are disproportionate with his known sources of income.
The commission stated that it was not possible for Kuria to purchase properties worth Sh186 million, have Sh82 million in his company’s account and Sh74 million in his personal account between January 2014 and December 2017 using his modest salary of less than Sh120,000.
EACC summoned him on August 13 to explain how he obtained the wealth within seven days, failure to which the commission will begin proceedings to have the assets forfeited to the state.
“Evidence available to the commission indicates that suspicions deposits suspected to be proceeds of corruption, embezzlement and bribery were credited in his account during the period he worked as the Chief Finance Officer of Nyandarua County,” said EACC.
The commission claimed further that Kuria incorporated a company, Gachomba and Company Properties Ltd and listed his wife, mother and six children as directors and which they used as a vehicle to trade with Nyandarua County and receive kickbacks from other contractors.
But Kuria’s lawyer Dennis Mwangi submitted that the seven-day notice was not justified since his client was never notified of any investigations relating to his sources of wealth.
“He was never served with any court order allowing the commission to investigate his accounts. The evidence was irregularly acquired and cannot be used as a basis to take away his hard-earned wealth,” said Mwangi.
EACC had in March obtained orders freezing the former CFO’s accounts, claiming that he turned the county into a cash cow.
Among the properties Kuria is said to have irregularly acquired include two pieces of land in Lanet, Nakuru County, five plots in Dagoretti, Nairobi County, two plots in Kikuyu, two plots in Limuru and another piece within Kiambu town.