Court freezes ex-county official's account in Sh65 million graft case probe

The High Court has frozen the account of a former chief officer at Kisii County government suspected to have siphoned more than Sh65 million.

Justice Esther Maina issued the order freezing the account of Alphanus Osoro Mokaya following an application by the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) claiming he used his position as Chief Officer for Fisheries to steal public funds.

“I am satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the funds sought to be preserved are proceeds of crime. The court issues an order on the amount totalling Sh17,873,560 held at Stima Sacco in the name of Alphanus Osoro Mokaya,” ruled Maina.

ARA in its application filed through lawyer Jennifer Gitiri claimed Mokaya received large cash deposits in his Stima Sacco account totalling Sh65,142,325 but withdrew some amounts leaving the balance of Sh17.8 million which was frozen.

According to the agency, Mokaya was in the process of transferring the amount to conceal the source before they got wind of the alleged misappropriation of public funds.

“It is in the interest of justice that the amount be preserved since he was in the process of withdrawing the funds which we suspect are tainted property and proceeds of crime,” said Gitiri.

The agency’s lead investigator Alfred Musala in his affidavit swore that an analysis of Mokaya’s salary between 2014 and 2021 totalled Sh7.1 million but he used to have large unsupported deposits whose source he could not explain.

Stima Sacco

He stated that Mokaya received the large deposits in his KCB bank account but hurriedly transferred to the Stima Sacco account to conceal the funds.

At one point, Musala swore that the former chief officer received Sh7.7 million through online deposits but the bank narration did not show the source of the funds which they suspect was siphoned from the Kisii County Government.

“Investigations have so far revealed that he cannot explain or provide documents in support of the Sh65 million he received. This presents a clear case of embezzlement of public funds since he did not have any documentation to prove the source of funds,” swore Musala.

In one instance where Mokaya tried to justify his money, ARA stated he claimed to have received Sh2.2 million as payment for providing training materials for artificial insemination to farmers when no such thing happened.

Justice Maina directed that the bank account shall remain frozen for 90 days to allow ARA file a formal suit to have the funds forfeited to the government for being proceeds of crime.