The High Court has declined to suspend one of the suits seeking the recovery of more than Sh1.9 billion against former Migori governor Okoth Obado, his children and several contractors, as sought by a businessman implicated in the matter.
Justice Esther Maina rejected the application by Jared Peter Oluoch Kwaga, saying although the parties in the two petitions are substantially similar, the two cases have completely distinct causes of action with different reliefs.
The judge noted that one of the suits sought the recovery of a house in Loresho and two motor vehicles valued at Sh15.9 million, which Mr Obado and his children allegedly corruptly acquired. The other suit sought to recover more than Sh1.9 billion allegedly obtained by Mr Obado and more than 20 others from the Migori County government through fictitious procurement contracts.
Mr Kwaga, who is implicated in the two cases, had argued that if the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) succeeds in both suits, it will recover double the amount and, therefore, unjust enrichment.
“In the circumstances, the 6th [Kwaga] and 7th [Kwaga’s firm] defendants’ application falls short as this court has established that the causes of action are not the same,” the judge said.
The EACC said it investigated tenders awarded to several companies linked to Mr Kwaga by the Migori County government between 2013 and 2017.
The court documents stated that out of the monies paid to the companies, some Sh34.5 million was spent in the purchase of the house in Loresho and that Mr Kwaga transferred the money paid to him to his personal account and later deposited to accounts of Mr Obado’s children, who were studying abroad.
EACC said it sought mutual legal assistance through the Attorney General’s office in Scotland, the UK and Australia and discovered that the funds sent by three firms, which traded with Migori County, sent the funds to Obado’s children.
One of Obado’s sons allegedly bought two Landcruisers using the money.
Mr Kwaga’s relatives, Mr Obado and his five children- Dan, Susan Scarlet Akoth, Jerry and Evelyne Zachary have been charged with conspiracy to commit an economic crime and money laundering.
The EACC said the filing of the forfeiture suit was informed by the convincing evidence obtained from further investigations and mutual legal assistance where Obado’s children resided and attended school.
The court was informed that documents obtained through mutual legal assistance showed evidence of monies electronically transferred to Australia, Scotland and England are not part of the evidence in the other case.