Court freezes Sh1.2bn Lands official property


Lady Justice Esther Maina during a past court session. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NMG

The court has extended preservation orders allowing the anti-corruption agency to seize wealth worth Sh1.2 billion belonging to a top official at the Ministry of Lands.

In the orders issued by Justice Esther Maina, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has been allowed to seize the assets of Nicholas Owino Ochiel, a senior assistant director of valuation at the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning. Among the frozen assets is Mr Ochiel’s Sh80 million Karen home and other multimillion-shilling properties spread across the country.

The targeted wealth is valued at Sh1,206,851,274 and EACC claims that the same to be proceeds of bribery, corruption and other economic crimes over a period of 15 years (2003 to 2018).

In the suit, where the official is sued alongside his wife and brother, EACC claims that he amassed the wealth through illegal means and he used his two kin (wife and brother) as conduits to receive, hold and conceal funds acquired as a result of corruption. Pending determination of the forfeiture suit, Mr Ochiel has been barred from dealing with the assets including 17 pieces of land and an office space suspected to be proceeds of corruption. The interim order also bars Mr Ochiel from collecting or receiving monthly income from his 10 rental houses. The lands are situated in Nairobi, Kajiado, Kisumu, SIaya and Ugunja.

The seized assets include houses, lands, cars and money in banks. The properties include Mr Ochiel’s Karen residence valued at Sh80 million, Ternic Court Apartments and Thome Estate valued at Sh130 million and undeveloped plot in Parklands Road Nairobi valued at Sh100 million.

EACC sued the official alongside his wife Terry Violet Muthoni Maina, his companies Ternic Valuers Limited, Ternic Enterprises Limited and his brother Richard Omondi Ochiel.

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