Former Nairobi county chief gains back Sh168m seized by State in graft case

Kiamba Ex- Nairobi County

Former Nairobi county chief finance officer Jimmy Kiamba.

Photo credit: FILE PHOTO | NMG

Former Nairobi county chief finance officer Jimmy Kiamba has successfully argued for the reduction of the cash he is supposed to forfeit to the State, which the High Court had found in 2018 to be unexplained wealth. 

Mr Kiamba and his spouse Tracy Mbinya convinced the Court of Appeal that the High Court had included their Sh168.7 million rental and business earnings in the Sh282.6 million he was directed to forfeit to the State.

“The appeal succeeds only to the extent that we hereby set aside the trial court’s order requiring the 1st appellant to pay to the Government the sum of Sh282,648,604 and, in its place, we hereby order and direct that the appellants do jointly and severally pay or forfeit to the Government of Kenya the sum of Sh113,893,743, being the unexplained cash in their bank accounts,” Justice Imaana Laibuta, Abida Ali-Aroni and John Mativo said.

Mr Kiamba was, however, unlucky after the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) convinced the court that some of the properties that had been dropped from the list of assets to be forfeited to the state, constituted unexplained wealth.

The EACC had initially listed 15 landed properties, seven vehicles, and money in eight bank accounts as ‘unexplained assets’ and placed their value  at Sh872 million. The amount was later reduced to Sh575 million.

While adding to the list of the properties to be forfeited, the three judges wondered how Mr Kiamba could acquire several high-end properties between 2009 and 2013.

“Even if one was to assume that the undisputed properties generated income, there was no evidence placed before court in support of huge sums of rent that would have enabled the appellants to acquire the properties they did in upmarket Nairobi,” the judges said.

The judges said they agreed with EACC’s submission that the trial judge Hedwig On’gudi erred by failing to interrogate the difference of income between 2009 and 2013, which had skyrocketed from Sh600,000 to Sh95 million within a span of six years.

The court stated that there was insufficient evidence to support claims that the former city county official could purchase three apartments on Pritt Lane.

He acquired the first on October 27, 2010 for Sh14 million, a second and a third one on May 10, 2012 for Sh15 million and Sh15.5 million respectively, and a maisonette in South C, acquired for Sh10.5 million in 2010.

Mr Kiamba also acquired an apartment named Skyrock for Sh25 million on August 17, 2012.

Monthly income

The former CFO had defended the millions saying he was engaged in large-scale farming in wheat and livestock since 2006, had two hotels in Mombasa and Machakos, engaged in water and quarry business in Machakos, and had rental income from properties jointly owned with his wife.

Ms Mbinya informed the court that she received monthly rental income of Sh250,000 from Skyrock apartment, monthly income from her interior design company of Sh1 million and from the beauty parlour an income of Sh200,000 a month.

“We therefore fault the learned trial judge for finding, in the absence of sufficient explanation and supporting evidence, that the appellants' known income could support the purchase of the following assets,” the judges said.

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