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Economy

Ex-PS seeks farm visit after NYS probe says land has only shrubs

Lilian Omollo
Ex-Youth PS Lilian Omollo when she appeared at Milimani Courts on October 29. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG 

Former Permanent Secretary Lillian Omollo has asked the court to visit her horticulture enterprise in Siaya after detectives allegedly found shrubs on the farm she said generated the millions of shillings deposited in her bank accounts.

Appearing before the Deputy Registrar of the High Court on Thursday, the former PS — through her lawyer — said she had instructions to seek permission for parties and the court to visit the farm in Uyoma, Rarieda.

Ms Omollo’s 10 accounts with Sh33.1 million were frozen in October after investigators told the court that the ex-PS made cash deposits in millions of shillings during the months when the theft of funds was reported at the National Youth Service (NYS).

Ms Omollo has maintained that she has greenhouses, where she farms tomatoes, cucumbers and watermelons among other crops.

She said she took up serious farming five years ago and some of the deposits made in the frozen accounts were proceeds from the farm.

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Ms Omollo had argued that the Assets Recovery Authority (ARA) did not have proof that the cash in the accounts are proceeds of crime, claiming that the amounts were from her farming business in Bondo and payments for consultancy services to her husband, Dick Oruko Oneko, who worked in South Sudan. Mr Oruko is the son of Mr Oneko.

“We established that there were no farming activities going on the land as alleged by the 1st respondent (Ms Omollo) … we established there a piece of land with shrubs,” said the ARA in court documents.

The agency also revealed that there were no tax filings to show Ms Omollo had additional income from farming, arguing that farming business is a disguise meant to conceal the source of the funds and “classical scheme of money laundering”.

“There is no shred of evidence to show linkages between the funds in issue and the alleged farm which our investigations established does not exist,” said the ARA investigator.

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