BY SAM ALFAN.
Assets Recovery Agency has revealed that charged former PS Lillian Omollo never filed tax returns for four years regarding an alleged multi-million shilling horticulture enterprise she runs in Siaya county.
This emerged after the Agency filed a supplementary affidavit in case where they are seeking to forfeit to the state over Sh 30 million held in her accounts which is believed to be linked to cash stolen from the National Youth Service.
The 10 accounts with Sh33.1 million were frozen in October last year after investigators told the court Omollo made cash deposits of millions of shillings in the accounts in months when the theft of funds was reported at the NYS.
“On May 28,2019 I received the income tax returns statements of Lilian Omollo for the years 2015,2016, 2017 and 2018 from Kenya Revenue authority which do not disclose any income from farming business,” said Agency Investigator Corporal Isaac Nakitare.
Through Senior Assistant state counsel Mohammed Adow, the agency further revealed that what Omollo only disclosed for the four years are her salary returns from NEPAD Kenya Secretariat and state department for public service which are her previous employers and has not discharged the thunder of proving the legitimate source of the funds.
The agency said failure to file tax return the former PS is clear indication that she does not have any farming business which generates income which is the sources of the funds in the specified accounts which are proceeds of crime.
ARA has accused Omollo of deceiving the court in her documents filed in court seeking to set aside the orders to freeze her accounts saying that she is a farmer who acquired more than Sh30 million in a farming business.
Documents filed in court by investigator Nakitare says he traveled to Uyoma, Rarieda in Siaya County with a colleague seeking to establish the farming business claimed by Omollo.
He said that upon arrival to the said place they found that there was no farming in existence as alleged but there exist “ a piece of land with shrubs”.
ARA says that the farming business is a disguise meant to conceal the source of the funds and “classical scheme of money laundering”. Further, Nakitare said that the said they met Nam Oneko, Omollo’s brother in law.
They said he told them the land belongs to the family of the late Achieng Oneko and is not yet subdivided among the family.
“There is no shred of evidence to show linkages between the funds in issue and the alleged farm which our investigations established does not exist,” he says.
The agency also dismissed Omollo’s defence that cash in her accounts and those of her children were wired by her husband, Oneko, from a consultancy works.
A review of Oneko’s banks account at CFC Stanbic indicated he received Sh22.7 million in dollars between August 2011 and April 2019.
“The branch established that there was no single deposit for the period of 2016, 2017 and 2018, which is the period under investigations,” says the ARA, while maintaining that cash in the 10 accounts.
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. She is facing charges together with former senior officials at NYS over the loss of Sh 468 million.
The former PS stated that she has greenhouses, where she farms tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelons among other crops. She said she took up serious farming five years ago and some of the deposits made the frozen accounts were proceeds from the farm.
She claimed that she operate a joint farming with her husband Dick Aching Oneko in Siaya County.
Surprisingly according to the court documents, despite the said farm produce sold in Siaya, the money was deposited in Nairobi instead of the nearest Bank.
Oneko also claimed source were earnings from a consultancy firm known as Nile International where he offered consultancy services in South Sudan.
Oneko said he used to be paid in cash but did not sign anywhere to confirm receipt. He also brought the said money in the country without declaring the same at the point of the entry, against the law.
But in the statement, Nakitare said that they established that there was no farm in existence as alleged but there exist “a piece of land with shrubs”.
The investigator said the farming business is a disguise meant to conceal the source of the funds and “classical scheme.
Further, the officer said that the said piece of land belongs to the family of the late Achieng Oneko and the land was yet to be subdivided. “We further established that there was no farming activities going on the land as alleged by the 1st Respondent ( Omollo).
On the land we established that there is one small sized greenhouse located on a small portion of the land which Nam Oneko ( Omollo’s relative) told us belonged to him,” he said.
The investigator said that there were some small tomatoes which were yet to mature planted inside the green house, but not at commercial scale level.
“There is no shred of evidence to show linkages between the funds in issue and the alleged farm which our investigations established does not exist,” he said.