Government to seize assets of corruption suspects

The multi-agency team leading the fight against corruption has decided to seize all assets and freeze all accounts of corruption suspects as soon as they are charged in court.

Suspects will be required to prove to the State how they acquired the assets before they are released to them.

Those unable to account for every shilling and all assets will lose them to the State.

The new policy was agreed upon a few months ago and now the Director of Public Prosecutions and the EACC are due to implement it.

On April 2, 2015, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the Attorney General Githu Muigai to amend the EACC act to provide for the DPP and EACC to seize assets of corruption suspects. 

At that time he said, “We are also now going to go where it hurts the most. If you have been accused …(and) you are before the court, the prosecution will have the right to freeze all your assets to ensure that you will not be able to utilise funds that you have gotten from corruption to protect yourself,” Uhuru told business leaders at a Kenya Private Sector Alliance at State House then.

News of implementing the new seizure strategy emerged on the day the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission arrested top officials of the Communication Authority of Kenya over procurement irregularities.

On April 2, 2015, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the Attorney General Githu Muigai to amend the EACC act to provide for the DPP and EACC to seize assets of corruption suspects. 

By yesterday evening, EACC detectives had arrested six senior officials including the agency’s acting director general Leo Kibet Boruett.

“The Commission forwarded the file to the Director of Public Prosecutions on 16 January, 2019. The DPP in his letter dated 6th May 2019 returned the file to the EACC and gave consent to arraign the suspects in court,” the EACC said in a statement to newsrooms yesterday.

Boruett is also the director of Multimedia Services at CAK.

Among those arrested are assistant director of Cyber Security and E-Commerce Vincent Ngundi, Director of Frequency Stanley Kibe and ex-assistant Procurement director Joyce Osinde.

Others are Jane Jeptanui Rotich, an assistant manager, and procurement specialist Philip Kiplagat.

The six were part of the tender evaluation committee for the renovation of the CAK Agricultural Society of Kenya show stand. The EACC says the process was not above board.

Yesterday, the EACC announced that three top officials were still at large.

These are the director of finance and accounts Peris Nkonge, Consumer and Public Affairs director Mutua Muthusi and the former director of Legal Services John Omo.

Omo left CCK in November last year after he was elected secretary general of the African Telecommunications Union (ATU).

He succeeded Niger’s Abdoulkarim Soumaila.

“We have information that Muthusi is in Switzerland on official duty and Omo is in Kigali, Rwanda,” EACC said.

The anti-graft agency led by new CEO Twalib Mbarak has intensified the war against corruption at a time when some leaders have warned the country was losing steam in the fight against the vice.

On Friday last week, Catholic bishops criticised the government over its commitment in the fight against corruption, saying that the enthusiasm to stamp out the vice has waned.

The promised high-level arrests in connection with the Arror and Kimwarer dams have not materialised amid claims of political sensitivity at high levels. Uhuru has repeatedly said no one, no matter how high, would be spared. But the President also has said no one would be forced to step aside from the Cabinet or other senior position unless he or she is charged in court.

However, over the past one month, the EACC arrested and charged National Land Commission former chairman Muhammad Swazuri and over a dozen other ex-officials over graft.

This was in regards to the fraudulent compensation for land acquired by the commission for the construction of the Mombasa Southern Bypass and Kipevu New Highway Container Terminal link road in 2013.

Former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero was also arrested and charged by the EACC over Sh68 million irregular payments by the county government to a law firm.

Kidero was arrested alongside former senior City Hall officials, including his former chief of staff George Wainaina.

The Star has also established that EACC is tightening the noose around seven governors, with a high-profile county chief from Mt Kenya likely to be the first casualty.

The county boss  has been on a property acquisition spree and is said to have become an overnight multi-millionaire, which does not tally with his income for the duration he has been in office

Sources said detectives have covertly looked at how money has been moving in and out of his account and believe he has a case to answer.