Day of reckoning as State moves to repossess looted assets

Sunday May 5 2019

Jimmy Mutuku Kiamba,  Runda, Nairobi,

Former Nairobi County chief finance officer Jimmy Mutuku Kiamba's house locate in Runda, Nairobi, that is being targeted for recovery by EACC. PHOTO | EACC 

 NYAMBEGA GISESA
By NYAMBEGA GISESA
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In one of his houses located in the exclusive Runda Grove, former Nairobi County Chief Officer Jimmy Kiamba maintains the opulence and elegance that is associated with the neighbourhood, which is a favourite for the rich and famous.

The property is in close proximity to the UN offices, Two Rivers Mall, Ridgeways Mall, Village Market, Brookhouse School and Potterhouse School.

LIFESTYLE AUDIT

Nonetheless, if a vicious on-going process of asset-recovery for property suspected to have been illegally acquired by public officials is finalised, this splendid piece of architecture will be forfeited to the Nairobi County government.

Investigations by the Sunday Nation, which involved dozens of interviews and perusing through court documents, have established that Mr Kiamba, who is battling several corruption-related charges, will not just lose the Runda residence but assets worth Sh1.3 billion illegally acquired between August 2009 and February 2015.

In that short period of about six years, investigators discovered that he made bank deposits totalling Sh1, 383,468,402 against a total net salary of Sh5,821,309 at Sh90,833 per month.

Mr Kiamba is among over 100 individuals whom the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Assets Recovery Authority are pursuing their property valued over Sh10 billion for recovery. They include government officials and well-connected individuals. In February, EACC records indicate that there were 78 cases of illegally acquired assets in court. As from 2013 to December 2018, EACC records that illegally acquired assets worth Sh3.6 billion were recovered.

These included land in Mombasa mainland (Sh250 million), Mombasa island (Sh620 million, Sh107 milion and Sh90 million), Milimani court land (Sh400 million), Karatina municipality among others.

“We don’t just want to take people to court and jail them. We also want recover the properties that they have acquired through the proceeds of corruption,” EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak told the Sunday Nation.

According to Mr Mbarak, dozens of cases have been filed in court in which the anti-corruption body intends to recover illegally obtained property worth billions of shillings.

“We are now focusing on recovery of stolen assets and assets that were irregularly acquired. We have identified some of the suspects through lifestyle audit reports,” he added.

Assets Recovery Agency director Muthoni Kimani says the State has recovered over Sh3 billion from proceeds of corruption and money laundering in the past two years.

“These properties include cars, houses and land. We have managed to obtain restriction orders on dozens of properties and we have moved to get forfeiture instructions on a number of them. These are properties connected with corruption networks or obtained through corruption of proceeds of corruption,” she said.

The following are some of the multi-billion shilling properties that have been discovered or which the process of recovery is at an advanced stage:

Sh2.6 Billion properties associated with  Migori Governor Okoth Obado

The best example that being a close associate of a governor is a lucrative position is none other than Jared Kwaga and Ernest Omondi, who through their companies, were awarded contracts worth over Sh1.6 billion and Sh732 million respectively, according to detectives.

Investigators believe that these funds were used to acquire and construct properties worth over Sh1 billion, registered in Mr Obado and Mr Kwaga’s names.

In total, the state is at various stages of recovering 59 properties which belong to Mr Obado and his associates.

The properties include Mr Obado’s palatial home at Uriri in Migori that was constructed by Mbingo Enterprises Ltd, a company owned by Mr Omondi. The splendid home lies on over 10 acres of land.

Other properties targeted include Mr Obado’s house located along the Kisii-Migori road on a three-acre piece of land, a building under construction at Kaduka Estate, four-storey building under construction at Namba, his building estimated at Sh300 million at Fairview Hotel, a storeyed apartment in Nairobi’s Umoja estate and Luanda Complex Academy located adjacent to Mr Obado’s palatial home.

There are also residential flats located in Migori town, the Twin Breeze Hotel believed to be owned through proxy by Mr Omondi and Orange House in Migori town.

Asset recovery officials also have their eyes trained on Mr Kwagwa’s properties which include his palatial home located at Kanyamkago area of Uriri, a town residence at Onyalo, rental apartments near Rongo Central SDA church, Sunrise Centre and the Premacy Petrol Station located along the Kisii-Migori road.

Mr Omondi’s properties on the radar include Oil Libya Migori, Blue Shine Academy located at Onyalo and rental apartments constructed near the Governor’s Annex Office in Migori town.

Other properties targeted include those of Moses Ouma, the governor’s Chief of Protocol, who investigators claim lives above his means.

Sh420 million empire built by Nairobi County official

The property portfolio of Stephen Osiro, Nairobi’s former head of Treasury, includes 16 properties in Nairobi and Kisumu some of which fetch a fortune in rent. Investigators are recovering the properties valued at Sh420 million convinced that the former public officer is a man with unexplained wealth.

The properties include three bedroomed apartments located at various high-end estates in Nairobi among them Riara Apartments, Millennium Gardens, Bellaway Apartments and Laikipia Gardens.

There is also a two-bedroom apartment at Lynx Apartments, Mbagathi Road, and a maisonette under construction in Runda.

Sh115m estate of accountant who deposited Sh900,000 daily

During his days as a senior accountant in the national government, Thomas Gitau Njogu made a fortune by trading with the ministries of Interior Security and Industrialisation through his companies: Njegit Investments Ltd, Njetash Enterprises, Golden Eleven Self Help Group and Wangmug Enterprises.

But hawk-eyed detectives outed him after a red flag was raised over the massive deposits of up to Sh900,000 per day in his personal account. This funds were believed to be from the Ministry of Interior’s confidential vote.

By the time he was arrested, he had acquired four properties worth Sh115 million in Nairobi and Kajiado. Assets recovery officials are on the verge of recovering the investments which they believe were acquired fraudulently.

Trans Nzoia County Director’s Sh280 million fortune

As the Director of Finance in Trans Nzoia County, Andrew Biketi’s gross salary was about Sh144,000. But in less than five years, he made investments in properties amounting to Sh280 million, some of which have already been recovered.

The properties include storey residential buildings in Mtwapa, Mombasa and Kitale as well as a fleet of high end vehicles and a petrol station in Mukuyu.

Between January 1, 2013 and by the time of his arrest on October 31, 2018, he had deposited Sh45.5 million in his bank accounts. In this period, his net salary was Sh5.8 million.

Traffic police with Sh47 million fortune

Constable Jamal Bare Mohamed is a legend among traffic cops for his riches given his low rank in the force.

By the time EACC detectives caught up with him, the motorbike rider had managed to deposit Sh33 million in his bank accounts and managed to invest in assets worth Sh47 million, between the periods January 2013 to August 2016. The former police officer based at Thika Police Station also owned a plot in Makongeni Estate, Thika, valued at Sh4 million believed to be proceeds of crime.

Mother and wife beneficiaries of Sh115m loot

Former Nyandarua County Finance Chief Officer Michael Kuria registered companies in the names of his wife and mother and subsequently used them to siphon funds from public coffers, according to prosecutors. EACC is in the process of instituting recovery of assets worth Sh115 million which the companies acquired.

Sh615 million unexplained KRA manager estate

Former KRA manager Joseph Gikonyo stares at the possibility of losing assets worth Sh615 million if a case for the recovery of the properties alleged to have been obtained through corrupt deals succeeds.

Mr Gikonyo owns a block of apartments in Nyali estate and Shanzu town.

Over 30 properties belonging to NYS Chief restricted

Former National Youth Service director Richard Ndubai seems to have been a lover of investing in parcels of land.

When he was arrested and arraigned in court over the Sh9 billion NYS Two scandal, detectives discovered that he had acquired 30 parcels of land measuring between one to five acres at his home county of Kirinyaga. The parcels of land were acquired in the financial year 2016/2017 when the scandal was at its helm. Recently, the Assets Recovery Authority obtained restriction orders on the properties and has instituted a forfeiture suit.

NYS suppliers paid for officers multi-million investments

Some time in 2016, former Mr Evans Kundu, the former NYS head of the Mechanical and Transport department, went to buy a piece of land in Nakuru.

Wachira Wahome, the individual who sold him the land, would later tell investigators that, although he only negotiated and agreed on a selling price with Mr Kundu, the purchase agreement was written in the name of Mr Kundu’s daughter.

Conspicuously, the person who paid for the parcel of land was Mrs Lucy Ngirita, a regular supplier to NYS.

Assets recovery officers are on the process of repossessing that piece of land alongside other properties valued over a billion shillings belonging to Mr Kundu located in various towns among them Kitale, Nakuru and Nairobi.

Seizure of property of former PS Lilian Omollo at last stage

The process of repossessing property worth millions of shillings belonging to former Youth Affairs Principal Secretary Lillian Mbogo Omollo has reached the final stage.

The Assets Recovery Authority has already filed a forfeiture suit for the properties which include residential houses.

Otherproperties

Other properties include those belonging to NYS 1 suspects Josephine Kabura and Ben Gethi, various NYS 2 suspects notably the Ngirita family and ICT Authority officials Anthony Mwangi and Peter Mwangi who built apartments from the Sh151m looted from the Jubilee laptop project kitty.

Multi-million properties belonging to Samburu governor Moses Kasaine Lenolkulal, including his residence in Karen, are also targeted for recovery.

Some of his properties earmarked for seizure are located in Samburu County.