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Governor Obado's homes raided as EACC seeks bank records

By Standard Team | November 14th 2018
Migori Governor Okoth Obado's residence Green Gardens at Lavington, Nairobi was raided by EACC detectives. [Boniface Okendo/ Standard]

Detectives yesterday descended on Migori Governor Okoth Obado's office and three homes in what sources said could be linked to investigations into alleged questionable tenders totalling over Sh2 billion.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) officers, backed by those from Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) yesterday ransacked Obado's homes in Nairobi, Migori and rural Rapogi, before moving to his office at the county headquarters in Migori.

According to one of the officers who conducted the raids, the documents they were seeking include bank statements and slips, tickets and tender related documents. According to him, they "got part of what they wanted".

The officers in several unmarked vehicles, including a white omnibus, arrived at the county headquarters at around 7am, sending workers fleeing from their offices. The officers took more than five hours in the office.

As they gained entry into the governor's offices in Migori, another group was ransacking Obado's house in Nairobi, Migori town and at Rapogi.

Mr Obado is out on a Sh5 million cash bail after he and his three aides were charged with the murder of University Student Sharon Otieno.

At his palatial house in Rapogi, some 20km from Migori town, EACC officers numbering more than 10, took positions at the gates and in the compound, attracting a large crowd of villagers.

Some of them, angered by the invasion, forced their way into Obado's compound and warned journalists against taking pictures.

The officers measured Obado's house, the entire compound before searching each of the many rooms. They spent almost four hours at the home.

At his Migori home, known as 'state house' where he has been living ever since he was released from remand prison two weeks ago, the officers broke down a door to one of the rooms which could not be opened on time.

Sources from the county's procurement office, said the officers took away several documents and files from Obado's office and homes.

Although details of the raid and what EACC officers were looking for have been kept secret, an official aware of the probe said the officers were looking for any document that can beef up the case they are building against the governor and his staff.

Obado's Director of Press Nicholas Anyuor, yesterday confirmed the officers conducted a raid at his boss's offices and homes, but said he did not know the motive behind the search.

"Yes, it is true the EACC officers were here but we don't know what they were looking for. They did not tell us anything. They just came and demanded to be given access to the office and homes," said Mr Anyuor.

He said the governor was away in Nairobi when the sleuths visited the county.

The EACC officials who declined to speak to the media later visited a local bank in Migori town where they spent many hours with some of the senior managers. Sources said they were seeking some records in connection with the alleged Sh2 billion scam.

By 3.30pm yesterday, the EACC and police officers were still holed up at the bank where they were perusing various accounts.

The anti-graft body has been investigating Obado and some of his close allies over questionable Sh2 billion tenders allegedly awarded to his cronies. The EACC had filed affidavits at the High Court in Nairobi, seeking to freeze bank accounts of some of the key suspects.  

The raids come barely three days after Obado hosted Deputy President William Ruto during a political tour of Migori. The two visited Kuria and later flew to Kisii and Nyamira.

Obado, who was venturing out for the first time since he was freed from prison, later accompanied the DP to Nyeri where they participated in a marathon.

Some of Migori administration's chief officers and directors have recorded statements with EACC on corruption matters.

Yasin Amaro, EACC spokesman, yesterday confirmed that officers from the commission were at the governor’s residence, and had managed to retrieve some documents crucial to the Sh2 billion procurement deals probe.

Some documents

Obado’s lawyer Cliff Ombeta said the detectives had carried some documents.

“They conducted a search and left with some documents,” said Ombeta without elaborating.

In Nairobi, the team went to the governor’s residence in Lavington at about 6am and left four hours later. The officers were accompanied by armed officers.

Guards at the compound said the officials said they had a warrant allowing the search, before they went into the house.

Obado is said to have been present and that he cooperated.

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