Okoth Obado to defend himself when called upon, says Cliff Ombeta

Sunday September 09 2018

Lawyer Cliff Ombeta speaks in Nairobi on September 8, 2018 regarding Governor Okoth Obado's involvement in the murder of female student Sharon Otieno. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NATION MEIDA GROUP


Migori Governor Okoth Obado has finally come out to fight the allegations that he could have been involved in the abduction and murder of Rongo University student Sharon Otieno.

Through his lawyer Cliff Ombeta, the embattled governor also said he dispatched representatives to attend the post-mortem that was done on the deceased on Friday “to ensure nothing malicious goes on”.

“When you start hearing politicians start talking that the governor should be investigated and that they want him to be arrested because he is ultimately the master of the personal assistant (Michael Oyamo), you can see that there is intended malice.

"These are people speaking out of ignorance and without facts, but just because they want to sharpen their axes to fight him,” Mr Ombeta, who spoke to Sunday Nation on behalf of the governor, said.

“It is important then for a governor who has been adversely mentioned, falsely and without his side of the story not being taken, to have somebody to represent him so that nothing malicious goes on,” Mr Ombeta added.



According to the lawyer, Mr Obado dispatched him and private pathologist Fredrick Otieno over concerns that someone may have wanted to plant evidence to implicate him.

“It is possible that people can even plant evidence on the items that have been recovered from the deceased.

"This can be a danger if it is then posed as evidence that has been gathered yet it is falsely put there. A lawyer being present prevents such kind of things and makes sure things are done in a proper manner and that the law has been followed.

"He also needs a pathologist to be present to ensure that whatever has been done is proper because part of the things they were going to do is to take samples for DNA not only from the lady but also from the foetus,” he said.

“If they are claiming this is Obado’s baby, we need to be assured that the procedures were done properly and the samples were not tampered with so that at the end of it, all the results cannot be disputed.”


Employing the all-too familiar line by politicians when they are caught in some controversy, Mr Obado said attempts to link him to the abduction and murder was all political because of the stand he has taken in the forthcoming Migori senatorial by-election.

“There are no facts so far. Everybody is coming up to say the governor was having an affair and that the girl was carrying his baby.

"The governor is so strong on the ground and he is backing one candidate against the flow of the current that is ODM at the moment.

"Don’t you think it is possible for him to be hammered so that he can be out of the way? Don’t you think it’s possible to make him look bad and lose ground a bit?” Mr Ombeta posed.

In the interview, the governor said he has not been called upon to record any statement with the police.

“If the police call him and if he is given a chance to answer these questions, he will answer them. In the meantime, he has a right either to keep quiet or use his representatives to answer some of the questions.

"But let them not call him because of allegations and people speaking in political rallies and funeral homes. Let them call him because there is evidence that links them to this crime, not for him to come and fill the gaps that the police have been unable to find.

"At the end of the day, he will be vindicated because this is a matter that has no facts. It has only political overtones,” the lawyer said.


Mr Obado also denied knowing Nation journalist Barrack Oduor.

Ms Otieno was abducted along with Mr Oduor but the latter said he managed to fight his way out of the kidnappers’ vehicle.

In the process, he sustained injuries and was treated at Aga Khan Hospital in Kisumu and discharged.

Mr Oduor had said he was introduced to Governor Obado by an MP from the region. The MP has turned out to be National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi who has confirmed having introduced the journalist to the governor.

But Governor Obado maintains he does not know Mr Oduor.

“His position is that he doesn’t have an idea how all these things have happened, he does not know the journalist and has not done anything with him and all these stories have been cooked up,” his lawyer said.

So far, only Mr Obado’s personal aide, Mr Oyamo, has been arrested and remains in police custody.