FREEZE ORDER ON KERRA OFFICIAL’S 22 BANK ACCOUNTS UPHELD

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The High Court Judge Esther Maina has indorsed an order freezing over half a billion shillings in 22 bank accounts and assets belonging to Benson Mutinda Muteti Senior Kenya Rural Roads Agency (KeRRA) official, accused of building his empire from kickbacks and bribes from road contractors.

Judge Maina dismissed the application by Muteti who sought to lift the freeze order, arguing that there was nothing linking the money and his property to corruption.

The accused argued Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) did not single out any of his properties that were acquired through corruption.

EACC said Muteti got kickbacks from contractors and awarded State tenders to a company associated with his brother. The anti-graft agency said multiple deposits were made into Mr. Muteti’s 19 KCB bank accounts and an account each at Cooperative Bank, NBK and Absa Bank, between February 2009 and December 2018. The antigraft agency made the application seeking to bar Mr. Muteti and his spouse from selling or charging the assets, subdividing the parcels or transferring them, pending the hearing of the application for forfeiture of the assets and money to the state.
Additionally, EACC sought the freezing of the real estate property in Nairobi, Makueni and Kilifi counties, saying it could not have been built by his monthly salary of Sh390,000, but the official was a beneficiary of kickbacks from road contractors.

Judge Maina said the court has considered the application and balance of convenience tilts in preserving the assets.

Further, the agency has also applied to seize 27 properties, shares in multiple companies and schools linked to Mr. Muteti, his spouse Zipporah Mwongeli and their companies, saying they are part of unexplained wealth worth Sh952.3 million.

Mr. Muteti said he will appeal against the ruling and defended his wealth saying he accumulated them before he joined KeRRA from running businesses including bars, hardware and schools.

The properties targeted from Mr. Muteti and his wife include seven apartments, eight commercial and residential plots, two schools — Mumbe Junior Academy and Mumbe Girls High School — as well as shares worth Sh2.24 million, four vehicles and a hardware worth Sh41 million.

Mentioning of the case is schedule on March 1, 2022.

Cases of unexplained wealth by public officials clearly shows they cannot prove the legality of the source of wealth.

Lately, public officials holding wealth beyond their known source of income have had the wealth forfeited to the State. The anti –graft agencies through the Multi-Agency framework, have increasingly unraveled an intricate web of public officials using their families, cronies and friends to engage in corruption. The agencies have been working tirelessly to repossess public funds that have been stolen by public officials and businessmen among other perpetrators. Theft of public funds meant for the country’s development has to stop for the country to achieve its developmental agenda.

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