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Trader in Migori graft case wants trial stopped

NYANZA
By Paul Ogemba | February 27th 2021

Joram Opala Otieno [File, Standard]

A businessman at the centre of the Sh373 million graft case against Migori Governor Okoth Obado has filed a fresh suit to stop the trial.

Joram Opala Otieno, his brother Patroba Ochanda Otieno, and sister-in-law Carolyne Anyango Ochola also want the High Court to reduce the 22 corruption charges they are facing to at least 12, arguing that the high number of charges will make it impossible for them to defend themselves.

Through lawyer George Kithi, the traders argue that the multiplicity of the charges has destroyed their reputation and a violation of their right to fair trial.

The three were charged alongside Mr Obado and his children Dan Achola, Scarlet Susan, Jerry Zachary and Evelyne Odhiambo with conspiracy to defraud the County Government of Migori of more than Sh373 million.

Also charged was Jared Oluoch Kwaga, his wife Christine Akinyi and mother Penina Auma. Investigators at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission alleged Kwaga was the mastermind of the multi-million-shilling theft.

They were charged in August last year with a total of 22 counts ranging from conspiracy to commit an economic crime, conflict of interest, money laundering and fraudulent acquisition of public funds.

Among the charges were that Obado, the traders and their companies engaged in money laundering.

They were accused of entering into illegal arrangements to siphon public funds and received a total of Sh280 million from the County Government of Migori while disguising source of the funds.

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