Obado, children face arrest over Sh73.4 fraud charges

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020 00:00 |
Migori Governor Okoth Obado duringa past appeariance in court following the death of Rongo University student Sharon Otieno. Photo/PD/CHARLES MATHAI

The Director of Public Prosecutions yesterday ordered the arrest of Migori Governor Okoth Obado and his four children over alleged theft of funds, in investigations that could expose how governors may be using their families to milk county treasuries dry.

Noordin Haji’s order could further deepen the woes of the governor who is already battling a case of killing a pregnant woman.

Obado, facing arrest with 23 others, will now be paraded in court over allegations of embezzlement of Sh73 million through questionable tenders and using the proceeds to spruce up his lifestyle by buying a property in a swanky Nairobi suburb.

Those to be charged alongside him include his sons Dan Achola and Jerry Zachary as well as his two daughters Susan Scarlet and Evelyn Adhiambo who, according to the DPP, were used by their father to receive Sh73.4 million through multiple payments from companies that did business with the Migori County government.

“The investigations were in respect to of Sh73,474, 376 being sums indirectly received by the Governor Migori County through his children who received multiple from companies trading with Migori County Government between the FY2013/2014 and FY 2016/2017 and further in respect of the purchase on a property at Loresho Ridge,” said the DPP.

Directors of companies

The investigations further revealed the owners and directors of the companies used included three of Obado’s friends who are three brothers namely, Jared Kwanga and his wife Christine Akinyi, Patroba Ochanda, Joram Opanda, their mother Peninah Auma and sister in-law Carolyn Anyango.

Yesterday the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) CEO Twalib Mbarak told People Daily that the probe that was concluded on July 1, 2020 saw investigators  seeking international support including a visit to Australia to gather evidence.

He added that more governors are under investigation over graft and could be arrested before the end of the year as part of their agency’s campaign to deter theft in counties.

“It was a complex probe, we had to travel overseas and get international cooperation to build the case.

We have more governors under probe and are facing imminent arrest. Our strategy is to ensure governors will not get into office with a stealing mind,” he said.

A probe by the EACC revealed an audit trail where Sh38 million was wired from the companies to the accounts of Achola, Scarlet and Jerry.

“The money was used to pay their school fees, upkeep, maintenance and medical bills in Australia, Scotland and the United Kingdom. Some of the said money also bought two motor vehicles - Toyota Land Cruiser V8,” said the statement.

Further, the audit trail disclosed that Sh34.5 million was used to purchase a house in Loresho Ridge whose beneficial owner was Adhiambo who is the governor’s daughter.

The companies involved were Misoft, Tarchdog Printers, Deltrack ICT services, Seletrack Consultants, Mactebac Contractors, Joysush Business, Swyfon Engineering, Atinus Services, Kajulu Business, Victorious Investment, Dolphus Software, Dankey Press and Pesulus Services.  

Family connections

Jared and Akinyi are family friends of Obado and the co-directors Misoft, with Akinyi also owning Atinus Services and Dankey Press while Opala owns Deltrack ICT services, Tarchdog Printers, Seletrack Consultants, Mactebac Contractors.

Ochanda is the proprietor of Joysush Business, Swyfon Engineering and Dolphus Software, their mother owns Pesulus Services and Kajulu Business while Anyango who is a sister in-law to Jared owns Victorious Investment.

The anti-corruption commission is investigating the loss of Sh2.5 billion at the Migori County government and the agency EACC and as well as the Asset Recovery Agency have since frozen Obado’s bank accounts and those of his wife Hellen Adhiambo.

Once paraded in court, Obado will join governors Mike Sonko of Nairobi and Samburu counterpart Moses Lenolkulal (Samburu) who were forced out of office after being charged with graft following the ruling by Justice Mumbi Ngugi that government officials facing corruption charges should vacate office until cleared.

Obado was on September 24, 2018 charged with the murder of Rongo University student Sharon Otieno who was alleged to be his girlfriend.

Obado, 61, his personal assistant Michael Oyamo, 40, and Caspal Obiero, a clerk in the Migori county government, have denied killing the student.

The 26-year-old student and her unborn baby were killed on the night of September 3 last year at Owade in Homa Bay.

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