Obado, Four Children Freed On KSh18.25 Million Cash Bail And Barred From Accessing Office

Governor Okoth Obado

NAIROBI, Kenya, August 31, 2020 – Migori Governor Okoth Obado has been freed on KSh8.75 million cash bail after he denied KSh73million fraud charges.

In his ruling on Monday, Chief Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi ordered that Obado be barred from accessing Migori County office until the case is concluded. The magistrate directed that the governor be escorted to pick his belongings.

The court ruled that his liberty be upheld as each case must be considered on its own merit. “I will consider the amount each of the accused person in the charges and the number of charges. COVID-19 is also a factor to be considered,” Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi ruled.

The Prosecution had objected to the release of Obado and his co-accused on cash bail saying that they were likely to abscond court. They noted that Obado is a man of status and influence adding that some of his employees are witnesses in the case.

“Likelihood of interference is real. There was fire incident as investigations were going on,” the Prosecution said.

However, Lawyer Kioko Kilikumi argued that the offences are bailable and that there is no single averment that the accused will abscond court. He further insisted that there was no concrete evidence to show that they could interfere with witnesses.

Nobody was identified as responsible for the fire and dismissed the allegations by the prosecution. He was released on bail in the murder case and has never absconded court,” Kilukumi said.

Journalists stand outside the Kisii EACC offices where Migori Governor Okoth Obado surrendered to detectives on August 26, 2020.

The lawyer was referring to the Sharon Otieno murder case. On Monday, Magistrate Mugambi ruled that an appropriate condition can be placed to avoid the issue of interference of witnesses.

He also agreed with the Defense team’s argument on the fire incident saying no one has been pointed out or connected to it. The court, however, directed that Obado be barred from accessing the Migori County office and that he be escorted to pick his personal belongings from there.

The Governor has also been ordered to surrender his passports to the court, not travel outside the country and not interfere with witnesses. He and his co-accused who include four of his children were arraigned at a Nairobi court on Monday after spending the weekend in police custody.

Obado is accused of benefiting indirectly from KSh73.4 million paid to his children. Investigations revealed that the children received payments from companies that traded with the Migori County Government between 2013 and 2017 when Obado served his first term.

Obado was arrested alongside his four children on August 26 after surrendering to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) offices in Kisii for questioning over the alleged embezzlement of public funds.

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The accused denied all the counts of graft at the Migori county government on Friday when they were arraigned.

While approving the arrest and prosecution of the suspects last week, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji said the county chief irregularly received the money through his children from companies trading with the county.

This, according to Haji, happened between 2013/14 and 2016/17 financial years. Investigations also showed that the companies belonged to persons closely related to Obado.

The companies are; Misoft Company Limited, Tarchdog Printers, Deltrack ICT services, Seletrack Consultants, Mactebac Contractors, Joyush Business, Swyfcon Engineering, Atinus Services, Kajulu business, Victorious Investment, Dolphins Softwares, Dankey Press and Pesulus Services.

The business proprietors are his three brothers: Jared Peter Kwaga, Patroba Ochanda and Joram Opala. The others were his mother, Penina Auma Otago and his sisters-in-law Christine Akinyi and Carolyne Onyango.

Governor Okoth Obado

An audit trail showed that KSh38.9 million was wired to his three children; Dan Okoth, Jerry Okoth, and Susan Okoth.

This money was used to pay for their school fees and daily upkeep. Some was also used to purchase two Toyota Land Cruiser V8.

“The audit trail of the money revealed that companies wired Sh39 million to the governor’s children accounts, which was used to pay school fees, upkeep and medical bills in Australia, Scotland and the UK, ” Haji said.

Some KSh34.5 million was used to purchase the Loresho Ridge property for his other daughter, Evelyne Adhiambo.

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