Obado and family's Sh73 million graft case still on, says judge

Former Migori Governor Okoth Obado at a Milimani court, July 21, 2022. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

The High Court has declined to suspend a case against former Migori Governor Okoth Obado in which the anti-graft agency is seeking to recover assets worth Sh73 million.

Justice Esther Maina ruled there is nothing wrong with pursuing Obado, his four children, a businessman and his companies through multiple suits filed by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) over claims they siphoned the money from the county government.

"I do not agree that the several cases involve the same subject properties as they are distinct. This suit involves the recovery of a house in Loresho and some motor vehicles while the other suits involve money," ruled Maina.

In the case, EACC is seeking to compel Obado, his children Evelyne Odhiambo, Dan Achola, Scarlet Susan and Jerry Zachary; businessman Jared Kwaga and his 13 companies to forfeit to the state the house in Loresho and two Land cruiser V8 vehicles.

The commission alleged that the ex-governor, his children and the businessman acquired the assets valued at Sh73,474,376 with proceeds of irregular and fictitious contracts with the county government of Migori.

EACC alleged that Sh38,949,376 was wired to Obado's children for their university tuition fees and upkeep, and a portion of it was used to purchase two Land Cruiser V8 luxury vehicles registered under the name of his daughter.

The commission said they traced the remaining Sh34,525,000 to Kenya Power Pension Fund for the purchase of the house at Loresho Ridge House in Lavington, Nairobi, with the lease agreement registered in the name of Kwaga but the rent is being paid to Obado's daughter Evelyne.

However, Kwaga filed the application seeking to suspend the case claiming EACC had filed another suit seeking to recover properties worth Sh1.9 billion.

According to the businessman, prosecuting him in the different cases amounted to an abuse of the court process since the claims arose from the same transaction involving contracts awarded by the county government.

He wanted the court to suspend the case to await the outcome of the first suit but Justice Maina ruled that the cases were not the same since the properties involved are different.

"The court has noted that this dispute is specifically confined to the landed property and the two motor vehicles while the other case involves money and other properties. His application to suspend this case lacks merit and is dismissed," ruled Maina.