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Governor Obado to be charged afresh with conspiracy to embezzle Sh505m

By Paul Ogemba | October 19th 2021
Migori Governor Okoth Obado. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

A Nairobi court has ordered Migori Governor Okoth Obado to be charged afresh with conspiracy to defraud his own government of Sh505.6 million following discovery of new evidence.

Obado had opposed the new charges claiming that they are defective but Anti-Corruption Chief Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi ruled that there was nothing wrong with the prosecution’s request to table the new developments.

“There is no illegality with the prosecution’s application to amend the charge sheet, which is informed by new evidence they have discovered. The law allows the prosecution to amend the charge sheet at any stage of the trial before they conclude their case,” ruled Mr Mugambi.

The governor had initially been charged with conspiracy to defraud a total of Sh308 million but the prosecution told the court that further investigations had revealed the governor, his four children and six traders had siphoned more than Sh505 million from the county.

Mugambi also allowed the prosecution to adduce more evidence, stating that disclosure of new evidence is a continuous process depending on materials that come into the possession of investigators.

According to the magistrate, what is important is for the court to give the accused persons sufficient time to study the new evidence before the hearing proceeds.

“Disclosure is a continuous process depending on the circumstances of each case especially when the prosecution discovers new evidence that was not in their possession when the trial commenced."

Mugambi directed that Obado, his four children–Dan Achola, Scarlet Susan, Jerry Zachary and Evelyne Odhiambo–and businessman Jared Oluoch Kwaga, his wife Christine Ochola, brothers Joram Opala and Patroba Ochanda, and sister-in-law Carolyne Ochola to plead to the new charges tomorrow.

In the new charges filed in court, the governor and his co-accused will face 26 charges ranging from conspiracy to commit economic crimes, conflict of interest, unlawful acquisition of public property, and money laundering.

The prosecution’s case is that the accused persons allegedly used six companies to obtain a total of Sh505.6 million through corruption.

According to the prosecution, Obado and his co-accused engaged in a complex scheme of money laundering where the companies were awarded contracts and got payments worth millions of shillings that were wired back to the governor through his children who were studying abroad. 

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