Court rejects Pastor Ezekiel Odero's request to unfreeze his accounts


New Life Prayer Centre and Church Pastor Ezekiel Odero. [Robert Menza,Standard]

The High Court in Mombasa has rejected a request to unfreeze over 15 bank accounts belonging to Pastor Ezekiel Odero of New Life Prayer Centre and Church.

Odero, through his lawyers, moved to court on May 3, 2023, seeking interim orders to block the government from freezing his personal and church accounts.

 The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) had applied for the freezing of the accounts for a period of 30 days, citing suspicions of illicit cash proceeds from individuals who were allegedly coerced into selling their properties.

The DCI specifically requested access to various bank accounts held at Equity Bank, Co-op Bank, KCB, and HFC Bank.

However, High Court Judge Olga Sewe deemed the application to be misguided and untenable.

At the same time, the court dismissed another application seeking to address Odero's TV license bank.

It stated that the petitioners should have exhausted all legal avenues with the Communication Authority before resorting to court action.

Pastor Odero is being investigated in connection with the Shakahola mass killings in Kilifi County, where over 200 bodies have been exhumed. The death toll at Shakahola Forest has now reached 201.

On Friday, detectives exhumed 29 bodies, the highest number since they began the process last month.

More than 610 people have been reported missing.

The exhumation process was suspended until Tuesday to give officials a two-day break.

Coast regional commissioner Rhoda Onyancha confirmed the suspension, stating, "The operation will take a two-day break and resume on Tuesday."