EACC moves to seize Sh1.2 billion assets from civil servant


Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The anti-graft body has moved to court to seize houses, land and cars belonging to a Ministry of Lands official accused of amassing wealth worth Sh1.2 billion from proceeds of corruption.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission says in court documents that Nicholas Owino Ochiel, who is a senior assistant director of valuation at the Ministry, amassed the millions through corrupt schemes.

Court documents show that the official acquired the properties between January 2003 and November 2018 as he took abused his position by entering into deals with property development companies, organisations and individuals seeking services such as valuation, payment of government stamp duty, and title processing among others.

The anti-graft body says by entering into deals and also conducting forensic audit services, Mr Ochiel was in direct conflict with his full-time job as an employee of the ministry.

“The 1st Defendant/Respondent is reasonably suspected of corrupt conduct by using privileged official information at the Ministry for financial gain,” the EACC said in court documents.

The commission is targeting properties including his residence in Karen valued at Sh80 million, a house in Thome estate worth Sh130 million, flats in Parklands valued at Sh100 million and an uncompleted commercial building in Kisumu worth Sh190 million.

Others are residential property in Lolwe Kisumu worth Sh53 million, a block of flats in Lolwe estate, Kisumu (sh55.5 million), and a house in Mirema valued at Sh23 million and three vehicles. 

The EACC says money that went through his M-Pesa amounts to Sh497 million, the properties are worth Sh694.6 million, and the cars are valued at Sh10.5 million. 

Mr Ochiel was first employed at the ministry as a valuer in 1996 and was the principal valuer from 2012 to 2016 before he was promoted to the current position.

The EACC says he is suspected to have used privileged information at the ministry for financial gain through companies associated with him including, Ternic Valuers Ltd and Ternic Enterprises Ltd.

Court documents further say he used his spouse Ms Violet Terry Muthoni Maina and brother Richard Omondi Ochiel as conduits to receive and conceal the funds.

The commission says it questioned him about his wealth amounting to Sh1.36 billion and in his response, he satisfactorily explained assets worth Sh158 million, leaving a balance of Sh1.2 billion.

“Pending the hearing and determination of this application this Honourable Court be pleased to issue an order of injunction restraining the respondents, their agents, servants, or any other persons from selling, transferring…the listed properties,” EACC said.