A court has extended orders freezing assets worth Sh1.2 billion belonging to the assistant director for valuation at the Ministry of Lands suspected to be proceeds of corruption for a further 30 days.
Justice Esther Maina on Tuesday extended the orders stopping Mr Nicholas Owino Ochiel from dealing with the assets including houses, motor vehicles and land parcels.
The orders issued in June were extended ahead of the hearing of the forfeiture suit filed by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) against Mr Ochiel, his wife Terry Violet Muthoni Maina, his brother Richard Omondi and their two trading companies - Ternic Valuers Limited, Ternic Enterprises Limited.
The judge fixed the hearing of the suit on October 24, 2022. The interim freeze order means the government official will continue being blocked from accessing his assets until the matter is heard and determined.
The order also stops the couple from disposing of their vehicles valued at Sh10.5 million and another piece of land in Nairobi.
EACC is targeting to recover 17 properties spanning Nairobi, Kisumu, Siaya and Kajiado counties. The frozen properties registered in Mr Ochiel’s name include a house in Karen worth Sh80 million, an undeveloped land in Parklands worth Sh100 million and a commercial building in Ugunja town, Siaya county, valued at Sh190 million.
Those belonging to his wife include an apartment block in Thome Estate Nairobi valued at Sh130 million, a five-bedroom house in Mirema Estate worth Sh23 million, a five-acre land in Kisumu and half an acre in Nairobi.
In the suit, EACC claims that Mr Ochiel amassed the wealth through corrupt means and that he used his two kin (wife and brother) as conduits to receive, hold and conceal funds acquired as a result of corrupt conduct.
Mr Ochiel was first employed at the ministry as a valuer in 1996 before rising through the ranks.
EACC said he amassed the questionable wealth between January 2003 and November 2018.