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Govt official loses control of 10 cars, hotel & multi-million property

The Nairobi County government staffer was earning a salary of Sh21,000 and could not explain the source of his wealth.

High end government cars

A Nairobi court has ordered the freezing of property belonging to a member of staff from the Nairobi County Government.

KTN’s Ali Manzu reported that Michael Ajwang had lost control of his multi-million property which includes a hotel and 10 cars.

The court was told that the Nairobi County staffer was earning a salary of Sh21,000 and could not explain the source of his wealth.

In 2020, the Supreme Court made a landmark ruling on the recovery of unexplained assets.

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The Supreme Court ruled that any asset held by a public officer and is not proportional to his legitimate source of income will be considered to have been acquired through corruption.

"A forfeiture order under ACECA is brought against unexplained assets which is tainted property; if the legitimate acquisition of such property is not satisfactorily explained, such tainted property risk categorisation as property that has been unlawfully acquired.

The requirement to explain assets is not a requirement for one to explain his innocence. The presumption of innocence is a fundamental right that cannot be displaced through a Notice to explain how assets have been acquired," the ruling said.

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In April 2022, the high court ordered the freezing of assets of Eric Kipkurui Mutai, a cleaning supervisor at the State Department for Correctional Services over links to embezzlement of Sh257 million.

Lady Justice Esther Maina ordered Mutai to surrender seven cars valued at Sh32 million to the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission for seizing.

The freezing orders shall subsist for a period of six months to allow EACC complete investigations into the allegations of fraud and embezzlement of public funds, and to file a formal application for recovery of the public resources,” read the High Court ruling.

A Sh17.5 million house in Nairobi, two plots of property in Nyaribari Chache in Kisii County valued at Sh25 million, and another piece of land in Kericho valued at Sh17 million are among the frozen assets.

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The anti-corruption office told the court that between 2012 and 2016, the cleaning supervisor, who was paid Sh20,800 per month, registered seven businesses and exploited them to embezzle taxpayers' money under the pretence of delivering food.

Mutai collaborated with several top prisons officers to have his firms receive Sh257 million without supplying anything, according to the commission's counsel Diana Kenduiwa.

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