Former Public Service Principal Secretary (PS) Lillian Omollo has launched a fight to recover cash frozen in her accounts and those of her children, arguing they have no links to the millions believed to be stolen from the National Youth Service.
The 10 accounts with Sh33.1 million were frozen in October after investigators told the court Ms Omollo made cash deposits of millions of shillings in the accounts in months when theft of funds was reported at the NYS.
But Ms Omollo on Monday argued that the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) lacked proof that the cash in the accounts are proceeds of crime.
She reckons that it’s against the law to freeze her children’s bank accounts yet they have not been charged with theft. The former PS adds that she has also not been charged with theft of NYS cash.
“The forfeiture application is misconceived because there is no evidence whatsoever to support allegations that the subject bank accounts contain proceeds of crime,” says Ms Omollo in court documents.
Ms Omollo’s seven bank accounts had Sh20.6 million while that of her children — Sheela Mbogo, Stephanie Mbogo and Shalom Kamwetu — had Sh12.5 million.
The ARA had revealed to the court that millions of shillings including a cash deposit of Sh20 million on April 20 were wired to the accounts registered to Sheela, Stephanie and Shalom.
The deposits were made in a period when more than Sh1 billion was stolen from the NYS through fictitious invoices for goods such as firewood and stationery and multiple payments on one supplier invoice.
Justice Mumbi Ngugi directed the ARA and Ms Omollo to file their submissions ahead of the hearing on June 6.
Ms Omollo, however, argued the application is premature and defective because she has not been convicted of crime.
She is facing charges together with former senior government officials at NYS over the loss of Sh468 million.
Ms Omollo said she presented evidence showing her legitimate and lawful source of the funds only for the police to dismiss it.
The former PS had claimed 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 former nationalist Ramogi Achieng’ Oneko.
She says her pay as PS and bank borrowings were invested in business that generated returns, which were ultimately banked.
"I deny the allegations that no reasonable explanation was given showing legitimate source of funds, principally because on November 19, 2018 I duly gave and delivered to the applicant my documents and evidence showing legitimate sources of funds held in the subject bank accounts,” she said.