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Economy

PS Omollo and Oneko son accounts frozen over NYS

 Lillian Mbogo Omollo
Public Service and Youth Principal Secretary Lillian Mbogo Omollo. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Public Service PS Lillian Omollo and her partner, flashy senior finance officer in the Public Service ministry Bernard Masiga Ayienga, and former radio host Angela Angwenyi Nyarangi are among persons whose bank accounts have been frozen following the theft of billions of shillings at the National Youth Service (NYS).

Court documents show that more than 115 accounts in 14 banks and Unaitas, a sacco, have been frozen for 90 days as the government starts to seize assets acquired through theft of Sh8 billion from the NYS.

The court issued the freeze orders following an application by Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) investigating Officer Frederick Musyoki.

The ARA list attached in court documents shows that three accounts belonging to Ms Omollo — one at KCB #ticker:KCB and two at Equity Bank #ticker:EQTY — are among those frozen.

The account of her partner Dick Oruko Oneko, son of former nationalist Ramogi Achieng’ Oneko, at Equity Bank was also frozen. Two of Mr Ayienga's accounts at Stanbic Kenya #ticker:SCBK have also been frozen.

Ms Ayienga, a senior finance officer under whose scope the NYS operates, has attracted the attention of investigators because of his lavish lifestyle and love for the finer things in life despite remaining in employment for a gross salary of Sh161,800 per month.

The besieged officer last month unsuccessfully sought to pre-empt arrest through an application for an anticipatory bail. Detectives close in on the suspect for arrest.

Mr Ayienga, whose social media wall that illustrates his flashy lifestyle was pulled down on Friday, is well-travelled and in possession of palatial homes in Nairobi and his village in Busia. His modest remuneration was no obstacle for him to take lavish holidays in India, London, Canada, Malaysia, Washington DC, and South Africa and splash it for everyone to see on his social media platforms.

Former radio host Angela Angwenyi is also in trouble for the second time after her account at Housing Finance was frozen.

In 2016, she was quizzed over a Sh302 million contract at the NYS and was hard pressed to explain what her company, Out of the Box Solutions, did to deserve the lucrative award.

ARA says the suspects were paid through 115 accounts held in 14 banks for services and goods not delivered.

Other top banks mentioned in the ARA suit include Standard Chartered Bank, Barclays Kenya, Co-operative Bank, National Bank, Credit Bank, NIC Bank, I&M and Guaranty Bank.

Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge said regulatory guidelines on handling the proceeds of corruption are clear to all financial institutions, making chief executive officers of those that flout the rules personally liable.

The law requires all financial institutions including banks, insurance companies and saccos to file with the Financial Reporting Centre (FRC) daily reports on transactions above Sh1 million and those deemed suspect.

Bank executives and persons who are convicted of handling illicit cash face a Sh1 million fine, and a three-year jail term, while institutions including banks and saccos that facilitate such deals can be fined up to Sh20 million upon conviction. Banks can also lose their licences.

Preliminary findings show that multiple payments running into tens of millions of shillings were authorised from the Integrated Financial Management Information System to the involved companies’ accounts at intervals, releasing the whole amount in less than an hour after it was asked for.

This raises the red flag on whether commercial banks involved reported any suspicious transactions to the CBK.

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