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Obado, his accomplices to spend weekend in custody

By Alphonse Mungahu
Friday, August 28th, 2020
A court orderly removes handcuffs from the wrists of Migori governor, Okoth Obado at Milimani Law Courts where he was charged alongside his four children and other suspects over corruption. Photo/PD/Charles Maathai
In summary
    • Kilukumi  accused the investigating officer of raising matters, which lacked any legal backing to push the court into denying the accused persons’ bond.
    • He  argued Obado and his co-accused should not spend a day in police cells and should instead sign personal commitment.

Migori Governor Okoth Obado and his four children will spend the weekend, not in the posh family mansions in Nairobi and Migori, but in cold police station cells.

Their misfortune comes after yesterday’s decision by the Anti-Corruption court to defer until Monday a ruling on whether the embattled governor, his four children and several other suspects in the Sh73 million corruption case will be released on bail.

State Prosecutor, Victor Mule, for the prosecution opposed the suspects’ application to be released on bond on grounds that they will interfere with witnesses.

Obado, his two sons and two daughters and several other suspects were kept waiting at the Milimani courts for six hours before the case formally started.

The suspects had been arrested on Thursday after surrendering themselves to Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) officials in Kisii town.

They were then driven all the way to Nairobi and locked up at various police stations overnight before being brought to court yesterday morning. 

 Denied charges

Obado, his four children and the other suspects all denied 28 counts of money laundering, abuse of office and obtaining public property leading to the loss of Sh73 million belonging to Migori county government.

One of the suspects, Peninah Auma Otango, 72, whose company is accused of receiving money from the county government pleaded to the charges in dholuo through an interpreter.

Obado separately denied charges of receiving millions of shillings from the companies, which did business with the county government and wiring the funds to family accounts to pay school fees for his four children who were studying in various universities abroad.

Obado’s children –Dan Achola Okoth, Scarlet Susan Okoth, Jerry Zachary Okoth and Everlyne Adhiambo– also faced charges of benefiting from the monies paid out to the companies.

Those accused alongside Obado and his children include Jared Peter Odoyo Oluoch Kwaga, his wife Christine Ochola, Joram Opala Otieno trading as Mactbec Contractors and Patroba Ochanda Otieno trading as Dolphins Softwares.

Other suspects included Carolyne Anyango Ochola, Misoft Ltd, Tarchdog Printers Ltd, Victorious Investment, Kajulu Ltd and Delitrack ICT Ltd.

All the accused denied a common charge of conspiring and unlawful acquisition of public funds amounting to Sh73m belonging to the county government of Migori.

Arguing for the release of the accused on bond, the defense team led by Kioko Kilukumi urged Chief Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi to free their clients stating that the “golden rule for all suspects is that they be released on bond upon arraignment regardless of the offence.”

Kilukumi argued that Obado who is 58 years was according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), vulnerable and should not be exposed to Covid-19.

He dismissed arguments by the prosecution that Obado has other pending cases, saying it was not compelling reason to deny him bond.

“I represent Obado in the murder case and he has never interfered with witnesses. He has complied with the bail terms and the fact he is facing other cases does not amount to a reason to deny him bond,” Kilukumi argued.

He told the magistrate that Obado had heeded to the DPP’s order to surrender himself to the EACC offices in Kisii and “did not opt to disappear to Tanzania, which is a stone throw away.”

His children through their lawyers also urged the court to grant them bond, saying they will not abscond.

The prosecution, however, asked the court to consider the large sum of monies involved and deny all the accused persons bond.

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