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EACC opposes bid to transfer Obado fraud case to Migori

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Migori Governor Okoth Obado leaves EACC offices in Kisii. PHOTO | RUTH MBULA | NMG

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Summary

  • The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has opposed a bid to transfer fraud trial against Governor Okoth Obado, his associates and children to Migori from Nairobi.
  • In reply to an application by Jared Opala Otieno, an associate of Mr Obado who wants the trial conducted in Migori, the anti-graft agency said the governor is an influential figure in Migori and might intimidate witnesses not to testify in the case.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has opposed a bid to transfer fraud trial against Governor Okoth Obado, his associates and children to Migori from Nairobi.

In reply to an application by Jared Opala Otieno, an associate of Mr Obado who wants the trial conducted in Migori, the anti-graft agency said the governor is an influential figure in Migori and might intimidate witnesses not to testify in the case.

Other than Mr Obado, the agency said Patroba Ochanda Otieno, an employee of the county and other accused persons are businesspeople and of great means and politically connected, who might intimidate locals who have been lined up to testify against them or might interfere with the evidence.

“There are substantial grounds for believing that if the accused persons are charged in Migori County, the jurisdiction within which the offences were initiated, there is high likelihood and apprehension that first interested party (Mr Obado) will obstruct the course of justice by influencing or compromising or terrifying witness not to give evidence,” said Ann Muriguh, an investigator with EACC.

The court heard that Mr Opala will be given the opportunity to defend himself at the appropriate time and the court should not be used to defeat efforts to investigate well founded allegations of corruption and economic crime.

The investigator said the suspects were given the opportunity during the plea taking to state whether any of them had an objection but none of them raised the objection and as such, the petition is misconceived and an afterthought.

EACC said it commenced investigations into fraudulent procurement and payments in Migori county government, where Mr Obado is alleged to have embezzled funds through proxies, who traded with the county government.

The commission obtained warrants to investigate several accounts and analysis established that Misoft Company ltd, Tarchdog Printers, Deltrack ICT services, Seletrack Consultatnts, Mactebac Contractors, Joyush Business among others received huge sums for payments of services to the county.