ODM summons Migori MCAs as Obado barred from his office

Migori Governor Okoth Obado’s children, from right; Dan Achola, Scarlet Susan, Jerry Zachary and Everline Adhiambo Zachary arrive at the Milimani law courts yesterday. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

ODM yesterday invited its Migori County MCAs for a consultative meeting a few hours after embattled Governor Okoth Obado was released on bail.

The governor was also barred from accessing his offices by anti-corruption court Chief Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi, making him the fourth governor to suffer a similar fate over corruption charges.

In a letter to the MCAs, through Majority Whip Keke Oyugi, ODM Executive Director Oduor Ong’wen said the MCAs will meet the party’s national leadership today.

“You are hereby requested to invite all ODM members of Migori County Assembly to attend a consultative meeting with the national leadership of the party on September 1, 2020 at the national secretariat,” read the letter.

Party Secretary General Edwin Sifuna denied any plans to impeach Governor Obado as was being peddled on social media. 

He said the meeting was out of concern for the welfare of Migori residents in light of the court decision.

“Governor Obado is the first casualty in an ODM electoral turf to be barred from entering office. It is of urgent concern to the party to consult with the area leaders on the way forward,” Sifuna told The Standard on phone.

He downplayed any plans to impeach the governor as was peddled on social media platforms.

Obado and his four children were ordered to deposit Sh18.3 million as cash bail after spending five days in custody, following charges of conspiracy to defraud the County Government of Migori of more than Sh300 million.

Magistrate Mugambi ruled that the governor should be escorted to his office to collect his belongings after which he should not set foot in the county offices until the graft case is concluded.

“The state and public officers charged in this case, including the Governor, shall liaise with the investigating officer to be escorted to pick their belongings from Migori County offices. Thereafter, there shall be no access to the offices by any of the accused,” ruled Mugambi.

Obado now goes into history records as the third governor to be barred form his office over claims of corruption. He joins Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal, ousted Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu and Nairobi’s Mike Sonko who were barred from office over allegations of stealing from their counties.

The decision means that although he is still the governor by virtue of his constitutional office, he will not transact any business within the county government offices, which will now be managed by his deputy Nelson Mahanga. 

According to Mugambi, the tough condition was necessary to preserve the integrity of the trial process and stop the governor from interfering with witnesses who are his junior officers at the county government.

“Being the governor to whom all employees are answerable, it might not augur well for the integrity of this trial if such employees some of whom are expected to testify against him are to continue working on a day to day basis under his supervision and directions,” ruled Mugambi.

Obado was granted a cash bail of Sh8.7 million while his two sons Dan Achola and Jerry Zachary were granted Sh2.5 million and Sh2 million, respectively. His daughters, Scarlet Susan was ordered to deposit Sh3 million cash bail while Everlyne Adhiambo got a cash bail of Sh2 million.

Although the prosecution had opposed the 11 accused’s applications for bail, the magistrate ruled that there were no compelling reasons to deny them bail.

The Standard
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