EACC goes after lands ministry employee for unexplained Ksh1.2 Billion
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission through lawyer Grace Maina has moved to the High Court seeking to
be allowed to seize Nicholas Owino Ochiel’s properties and assets worth Sh1.2 billion. EACC says in court documents that
Nicholas, who is a senior assistant director of valuation at the Ministry,
amassed the millions through corrupt schemes.
Court documents show that the official acquired
the properties worth 1.2 billion between January 2003 and November 2018 when
his income at the ministry was 6.3 million. The commission is targeting
properties including his residence in Karen valued at Sh80 million, a house in
Thome estate worth Sh130 million, flats in Parklands valued at Sh100 million
and an uncompleted commercial building in Kisumu worth Sh190 million.
Others are residential property in Lolwe Kisumu
worth Sh53 million, a block of flats in Lolwe estate, Kisumu (sh55.5 million),
and a house in Mirema valued at Sh23 million and three vehicles.
Mr Ochiel was first employed at the ministry as
a valuer in 1996 and was the principal valuer from 2012 to 2016 before he was
promoted to the current position.
Within the stated period, Ms Maina told the
court that the public officer incorporated two companies, Ternic Valuers
Limited and Ternic Enterprises Limited, and used them as conduits of corruption
while colluding with his wife Violet Terry Muthoni and brother Richard Omondi
“He exploited his official position of trust in
the ministry of lands for his private gain. He took undue advantage of his
position to confer benefit to himself by entering into contracts with private
entities for services he was employed and paid to provide at the ministry,”
EACC claimed they discovered that Ochiel, his
wife, brother, and their two companies accumulated wealth worth
Sh1,365,054,008, and when they were summoned to explain, they only justified
assets worth Sh158 million leaving a balance of Sh1.2 billion unexplained.
The commission wants Ochiel and his associates
compelled to forfeit to the State landed properties worth Sh695 million, money
transacted through bank and Mpesa totalling Sh497 million, and motor vehicles
worth Sh10.5 million.
EACC investigator Shadrack Mwenda in his
affidavit to support the application swore that they discovered Ochiel assessed
and received government levies and stamp duty fees from his clients without
disclosing them to the ministry for personal gain.