Former National Land Commission director Salome Munubi and her husband have lost Sh18 million after a judge ruled that they could not explain how they were holding such huge cash in their house.
Dr Munubi and Sostenah Ogera Taracha were seeking to recover the money, which was confiscated from their house in Harambee Estate in 2017 by officials from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) who raided the home.
Although the court absolved Dr Munubi of claims of corruption and receiving kickbacks from compensation for persons whose parcels were compulsorily acquired by the NLC for the standard gauge railway, the judge wondered how they could keep such amount in the house.
Justice John Onyiego said Mr Taracha and his daughter Priscilah Nyambura alias Risper Bwari, failed to explain how they made the money.
“Although there is no law prohibiting people from keeping money in their houses, it is questionable when such huge amounts of money cannot be connected to a lawful source of income,” the Judge said.
The EACC had argued that the money was from compensation for fictitious acquisition and compensation for four parcels of land in Embakasi, when Dr Munubi was the director of valuation and taxation at the land commission.
The court heard that the land belonged to Kenya Railways and was not available for allocation.
Mr Taracha had claimed that his daughter (Ms Bwari) was a business person and had advanced him the money.
He also said the money was meant for construction of houses, being a real estate developer.
He said the EACC officers visited his residence at Harambee Estate on May 4, 2017 at around 5.30am and informed him that they had obtained a search warrant.
After the search, the officers recovered Sh1 million, some 1,689 notes in 100 US Dollars and two notes of US$ 50.
He told the court that he had borrowed the money from a micro-finance institution, relatives and friends as well as his daughter.
Mr Taracha argued that although the investigators recorded a statement from him, no criminal charges have been preferred against him but they were still holding the money.
He further complained that the seizure was an infringement on his rights and the EACC should be compelled to release the haul immediately.
However, the court held that the search was lawful and the couple was given a chance to explain the source of the funds.