Anti-corruption detectives last evening got the green light to arrest Migori Governor Okoth Obado (pictured), his four children, business associates and staff over alleged embezzlement of Sh73.5 million from the county coffers.
The Director Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji gave the order in what he termed a web of conspiracy involving business associates through proxy companies and county staff.
Those to be arrested include Obado’s children Dan Okoth, Susan Okoth, Jerry Okoth and Adhiambo Everlyne Okoth.
The others are co-director of Misoft Company Limited, Jared Kwaga, wife Christine Ocholla, Kwaga's brothers Joram Otieno and Patroba Otieno and their mother Penina Otago. Also to be arrested is Kwaga's sister-in-law Carolyne Ochola.
The DPP also gave consent to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to go after 13 companies the governor and his co-accused allegedly dealt with in the execution of the fraud.
The EACC sought Haji’s consent to charge the individuals with four counts: conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption, conflict of interest, money laundering and unlawful acquisition of public property.
According to the DPP, the anti-graft agency launched a probe into the case through the governor’s designated proxies and employees of the county government.
“The investigations were in respect to Sh73,474,37.90 being the sum indirectly received by the governor, through his children who received multiple payments from companies trading with the county government between financial year 2013/2014 and 2016/2017 and further in respect of the purchase of the property at Loresho Ridge,” the DPP said, noting that he was satisfied that there was sufficient evidence to charge the mentioned persons with various criminal offences.
The companies and business entities in question are Misoft Company Limited, Tarchdog Printers, Deltrack ICT Services, Seletrack Consultants, Mactebac Contracts, Joyus Business, Swyfcon Engeering, Atinus Services, Kajuju Business, Victorious Investment, Dolphus Softwares, Dankey Press and Pesulus Services.
Brothers and mother
“Investigations further revealed that the directors/proprietors of the companies/business entities were proxies of the governor, including three of whom were his brothers namely, Jared Kwaga, Patroba Ochanda and Joram Opala, and their mother Penina Auma Otago, and the spouse to Kwaga, Christine Akinyi and sister-in-law,” said the DPP.
He said the audit trail of the money revealed that the companies wired Sh38,949,376.90 to the governor’s children’s accounts, namely Achola Okoth, Susan Okoth and Jerry Okoth, which was used to pay their school fees, upkeep, maintenance and medical bills in Australia, Scotland and the United Kingdom.
Haji noted that some of the money was used to buy two motor Toyota Land Cruiser V8.
“The audit trail further disclosed that Sh34,525,000 was used to purchase a house in Loresho Ridge whose beneficial owner is Everlyne Adhiambo Zachary, the governor’s daughter,” said Haji.
Public monies lost
The DPP said public monies were lost through the connivance of the governor and business entities through payments allegedly made for performance of contracts and probe of the money led to persons close to the governor.
Haji said when he received the file on July 1, he appointed a team of prosecutors to be part of an intra-agency team, bringing together officers from EACC to review and analyse evidence and got an independent file corroborating the claims.
Yesterday, EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak directed the named persons to present themselves at the commission’s South Nyanza regional offices in Kisii today (Wednesday) at 8am.
“More governors are under probe by the commission and their arrests are eminent.” Mbarak told The Standard.
Obado becomes the fourth governor to be charged by EACC, after Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia), Mike Sonko (Nairobi) and former Kiambu governor Ferdinard Waititu.