GOVERNMENT WINS’ CASE TO SEIZE PROPERTY OF EX-TREASURY CHIEF

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The Government has won a court case in which it sought multimillion-shilling assets of a former chief accountant at the Treasury linked to the Anglo-Leasing scandal.

Justice Mumbi Ngugi, concluded that Patrick Ochieno Abachi and his accomplices could not demonstrate that they would incur losses if the High Court judgment in March requiring forfeiture of their properties was not suspended.

“I have considered the averments and submissions of the applicants, and I find that they have not demonstrated that they will suffer substantial losses if the orders sought are not granted,” Justice Ngugi, who has since been elevated to the Court of Appeal, said

Mr Abachi and his accomplices were accused of involvement in the award of state contracts worth Sh. 70 billion to fictitious firms. Justice Ngugi’s judgement marked the first seizure of property in the scam connected to Anglo-Leasing.

The court read that public funds were dispatched to foreign companies for services including forgery-proof passports to naval ships and forensic laboratories, which never materialized.

As a result, Mr Abachi, his family and the companies associated with him lost an undisclosed amount of money in several accounts, five cars, four apartments in Nairobi, a residential home and nine parcels of land in Machakos and Kajiado.

The court found that the accused failed to demonstrate sources of the assets under his ownership. The items were subjected to state forfeiture, including some Sh. 1.9 million seized from his house in November 28, 2007.

The case was pending in court for over 13 years because the accused filed an application stopping the government from seizing his property.

“In the circumstances, I am constrained to find that the assets, the subject of this, are unexplained assets,” the judge ruled, adding that the assets could not be matched with his income.

The government has so far demonstrated that theft by public servants will not at all be tolerated, and there will be no discrimination in the administration of justice to those who are accused of theft of public funds.

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