BY SAM ALFAN.
Former Youth and Gender PS Lillian Omollo has opposes plans by Assets Recovery Agency seeking to have millions of shillings belonging to her forfeited to the state.
In response to application of forfeiture, Omollo said the move is premature and fatally defective.
She further said the application is misconceived because there is no evidence to support the allegations that the subject bank accounts contain proceeds of crime. She added she will present clear, cogent and irrefutable evidence showing her legitimate and lawful source of the funds held at the said bank accounts.
The amounts include USD 105,293,7 and Kshs. 22,445,74 million held ten accounts in equity Bank Limited , community branch Nairobi and Diamond Trust Bank Limited , Capital centre and Village Market in the names of Lillian Mbogo, Sahara Consultant , Lidi Holdings Limited , Lidi Estates as well as her three daughters forfeited to the government.
“I deny the agency 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”, say the PS in court documents.
The PS further say that the conclusion by the ARA that the funds held in the said back accounts were stolen from the NYS is incorrect, irrational, unreasonable and malicious for deliberately ignoring her clear evidence in their possession.
” I vehemently deny the allegations that the money held in the subject bank accounts are proceeds of crime. I assert that the funds have legitimate sources enumerated below. Therefore the forfeiture application is misinformed and malicious , and must be dismissed,” urge the court.
She adds that there is no proof that a crime was committed at NYS where public funds were stolen and there is no proof is given showing that funds were in the first place allocated to NYS, which public funds were lost or embezzled as alleged. “Allocation must precede loss of public of public funds. Indeed , no budgetary statement or audit report has been produced showing allocation of funds for a specific purpose and was later lost to substantiate the alleged crime,”.
Lilian also deny there was actual loss of funds at NYS , whether through audit reports or accounting records and no details are furnished of loss of NYS funds.
“I charged with offence of stealing and no where Lidi Holdings Limited, Lidi Estates Limited and her three children charged with any offence known by law, whether stealing or otherwise. There is no charge of theft alleged against all the respondents to substantiate the forfeiture or allegations of theft made. No reason or explanation is given why am not charged with theft of public funds if at all the fictitious theft did occur”, claim PS.
She said a mere existence of a criminal case against her which does not extend to company associated with her and her or her children does not in law amount to a conviction, neither can it substantiate issuance of forfeiture others without proof of actual commission of a crime.
“Mere holding of multiple bank accounts (whether or not a public officers) in the names of business entities, companies and minors and mere operation of the said bank accounts through deposits and withdrawals does not in law constitute money laundering, neither can it be taken as proof of theft neither is it a cognizable offence”, say the former PS.
She further says it is not a crime to transcact funds below Kshs. 1,000,000.
Asset Recovery Agency filed a petition before High Court Anti-Corruption division seeking forfeiture of millions held in the accounts of the former PS and her three children.
The money is held in several accounts in her name, companies where she a director while other accounts belong yo her three children.
ARA said in the petition that they suspect the monies are proceeds of crime and therefore liable for forfeiture to the state.
Through senior state counsel Mohamed Adow, the agency want the court to declare total of USD 105,293,7 and Kshs. 22,445,74 million held ten accounts in equity Bank Limited , community branch Nairobi and Diamond Trust Bank Limited , Capital centre and village Markert in the names of Lillian Mbogo, Sahara Consultant , Lidi Holdings Limited , Lidi Estates as well as her three daughters forfeited to the government.
The agency also wants USD 28,981,97 , Kshs 2,297,495,00, 257,220 and USD 8,979.83 held at equity bank in the name of Lidi Estates Limited forfeited to the state saying they monies are proceeds of crime.
All the amounts claimed by the agency are more than Sh32 million.
Omollo is currently facing charges or abuse of office, conspiracy to defraud and money laundering among other charges.
Lidi Holding Limited is company which Omollo and her husband Dick Achieng Oneko are directors and the company is the holder of two account at Equity Bank holding funds amounting to USD 8,979.83 and Kshs 257,220.
“This court be pleased to issue an order that the above funds be forfeited to the government and transfered to Assets Recovery Agency,” Adow urged the court.
The agency also wants the court to make any other orders it considers appropriate to facilitate the transfer of the property forfeited to the government.
In a supporting affidavit SSGT Fredrick Musyoki an investigating officer attached to the Agency told the court that the agency commenced investigations to recover proceeds of crime after the former PS and other suspects were arrested and charged on 29 of May this year.
He said investigation by Directorate of Criminal Investigations into the theft and fraud of public funds amounting to Kshs 467,896,993 from National Youth Service which revealed massive fraud and embezzlement of public funds perpetuated by public officials and private people who are facing charges before Nairobi Ant-corruption Chief Magistrate Court.
He also added that financial investigations by DCI revealed massive scheme of embezzlement of public funds, fraud and money laundering rendering the above funds proceeds of crime.
Investigation further established that funds were stolen and fraudulently transferred from NYS to various suppliers bank accounts who fictitiously supplied goods and services that were not rendered to the NYS.
Musyoki told the court on the 26 of April this year , the agency received information that there were funds held at Equity Bank , community branch the funds which were suspected to be proceeds of crime.