A former top public official who could not explain the source of Sh41 million he amassed in 10 months despite his modest salary will lose it to the State.
The Court of Appeal's decision against former National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation Finance Manager Stanley Mombo Amuti (pictured) sets a precedent that all "unexplained assets" should be handed over to the Government.
According to Court of Appeal Judges Phillip Waki, Gatembu Kairu and Otieno Odek, although he had never been charged or convicted of corruption or abuse of office, he had an obligation to explain how he acquired every coin.
“We are satisfied that the appellant (Amuti) did not offer satisfactory explanation as to the source of admitted sum of Sh 15.5 million from the alleged Sudanese national; the source of Sh1 million allegedly for community electricity project, the source of Sh 10.9 million and the source of Sh 9.5 million for sale of properties,” the court ruled.
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According to the State, Amuti splashed Sh41 million in 10 months to purchase property but could not explain the source of his money.
He is alleged to have once banked Sh1.5 million in cash in one day and visited the ATM 15 times to deposit the amount in installments of Sh100,000, attracting the attention of detectives.
Amuti had a Sh180,000 monthly salary and earned an additional Sh10,000 for consultancy services, but accumulated a wealth portfolio that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) argued did not match his income.
The anti-graft body told the Court of Appeal that besides the questionable cash deposits, Amuti had bought several properties, including a high-end car – a Toyota Land Cruiser – and land within 10 months. He was found with about Sh4 million in cash when EACC raided his home.
Through lawyer Philip Kagucia, EACC argued that it was impossible for Amuti to spend such an amount of money between September 1, 2007 and June 26, 2008 without showing the source of the income.
The attention of investigators was drawn by Amuti’s lifestyle and the deposits he made to his accounts in Barclays Bank and the National Westminster Bank, PLC London.
On May 12, 2008, the court heard, Amuti visited an ATM 15 times, depositing into his account Sh100,000 on each visit. In total, he deposited Sh1.5 million.
The following day, on May 13, he deposited Sh2 million.
The EACC, in its argument, said it was not wrong for Amuti to have so much money but failing to explain how he got it raised a red flag.
According to court papers, EACC investigators found Amuti with Sh300,000 cash, and upon raiding his house, they discovered Sh3.9 million.
“This was not his salary or rent. Where was the money coming from?” asked Mr Kagucia.
Amuti's property was confiscated by the State for being obtained through fraud.
However, he contested this before the Court of Appeal, arguing that he was not required to explain how he got Sh41 million.
According to Amuti, EACC had notified him that they were interested in his income for 16 years but narrowed down to a period of 10 months. In total, EACC was interested in Sh140 million.
While disputing impropriety claims, he insisted that it was unfair for EACC to take away his properties while he was not taken before any court of law for graft charges.
But EACC told the court it did not require to have a person charged for it to go after him.